Uplift Education continues to seek creative ways to engage entire families. “Uplift’s goal is to address the scholar as a whole person, starting in the home. The short term goal is for all stakeholders—teachers, parents, volunteers, community members—to understand what parent education is and how to be a part of it,” Uplift’s Community Advocacy Coordinator Martha Fernandez commented.
One organization Uplift has teamed with to address the whole scholar is The Concilio which has provided parent education and health programs to families in the DFW area for 31 years. Uplift Williams hosted the Concilio for a ten-week class at Uplift Williams for parents of primary and secondary scholars. A resounding success, The Concilio’s program focused on helping parents navigate the educational system, create supportive learning environments at home, and become their child’s first teacher. “Often, our programs provide people with hope because parents realize that they are the first expert on their child. A lot of our parents didn’t go to grade school. High school is a lofty goal. We talk about a child’s need to go beyond, to higher education. This can be really eye opening for many families,” Director of Education Tara Dunn explained.
Founded in 1981 by Hispanic community leaders who recognized the exponential growth of the Hispanic population and the requisite need to serve this community, the Concilio originally served as an umbrella organization for other non-profits.
Today, the organization has expanded its services to parents of all ethnic backgrounds who benefit from parent empowerment programs. Serving more than 4,000 parents a year, the Concilio recognizes that a number of contributing factors affect a parent’s ability to effectively navigate a school system. Not only might a parent have never graduated grade school, but he or she may also face a language barrier. In addition, the American educational system operates differently than that of other countries. “Parents are coming from a system in another country where teachers are considered to be experts, where it is considered to be offensive or inappropriate to question them,“ Dunn explained. Through its PACE programs (Parents Advocating for Student Excellence), The Concilio encourages parents to feel comfortable meeting with teachers and counselors, going to the school, and learning about academic standards and grade level requirements.Working with 22 schools in the DFW area this spring, The Concilio’s programming has been well embraced by families. Uplift Education looks forward to teaming with The Conclio again in the future to help meet the needs of our families.
The Concilio’s mission is to build stronger communities by empowering parents to improve the education and health of their families.