Since joining Lynwood Unified’s Project 2-INSPIRE program, district parent Patricia-Laura Ramirez-Beltran has newfound confidence to serve as a mentor to other parents throughout the district as she actively participates within the school community and shares her motivation with others.
Ramirez-Beltran is one of nine parents of Lynwood Unified School District students to recently receive certification for becoming parent leaders and completing the Project 2-INSPIRE program, which aims to develop leadership skills and teaches parents to be actively engaged in their child’s education.
Project 2-INSPIRE started at Lynwood Unified in 2013, with courses organized through the California Association for Bilingual Education (CABE), to teach parents how to create a positive learning environment at home and how to engage and motivate their children’s success at school. The program has helped empower parents to become leaders as they pave the way for other parents and strengthen the Lynwood community.
“Parents are the biggest advocates for their children so they can help ensure their students receive the best education possible,” said Jasmine Muñoz-Velasco, Lynwood Unified’s Parent Involvement Specialist. “It is powerful for parents to see parents like themselves in leadership roles and it encourages others to get involved. In turn, they can also become role models and mentors.”
The program is structured into four sections with level one being awareness, level two being mastery, level three as expert and the final level is advanced. At the first stage, basic content and skill development is addressed, such as how to create connections within the school and how to set personal and academic goals. Each level then goes more in-depth by addressing points like collaborative strategic planning and how to address a diverse community.
After completing the four levels of the program, parent leaders are certified to teach the level one workshop series to new participants and they will serve as mentors to build a parent community throughout the district.
“This program helped me to grow and learn about different topics related to education, and in that way, guide, motivate and encourage my children to achieve their greatest academic performance,” parent leader Ramirez-Beltran said. “It has helped me to become more secure with public speaking and I have developed personally and professionally.”
The most recent level one series started Oct. 6, and for the next 12-weeks parent leaders will present a wide range of topics including early childhood education, financing higher education, A-G requirements and common core standards.
The next three Friday sessions will cover the following topics: Education in the Digital Era, The U.S. Education System and The Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA).
The workshops are held 9 to 11 a.m. on scheduled Fridays at Cesar Chavez Middle School, with childcare and interpretation services provided. Presenters conduct the workshops in Spanish but the material for the series is provided in English and Spanish. Maria del Rocio Romero, another recent Project 2-INSPIRE certified parent, said that the program has helped her grow comfortable with public speaking while further teaching the value of education to her child.
“Preparing our students for the future requires a collective effort by our staff, parents and the surrounding community. Our goal is to empower parents to be active participants in their children’s education,” Superintendent Gudiel R. Crosthwaite said. “Congratulations to our parent leaders and to the incoming participants for their dedication to their students and the district.”