On June 7th, 2016, the CNUSD Parent Center opened its doors with a ribbon cutting ceremony. Attended by City Council members, the CNUSD Board of Education, CNUSD Administrators, staff, and community members, the launch of the Parent Center is a critical component in the district’s Local Control Accountability Plan. Goal 6 of the strategic plan hopes to establish family and school partnerships which build solid relationships between school and family. This includes establishing a centralized Parent Center for parents to access college and career pathways, academic support, interventions, parent information workshops/training, support for parent involvement, and mentorship resources.
“We thought about making sure that the community is engaged, connected, making sure there is a facility in place, a support for that,” said Dr. Lin as he addressed the packed house. “You hear me say this many times, it takes a village to raise a child, and I mean it sincerely. There is no better way than to do public education with a working partnership with community members. It’s not just a building, it’s about the work that we do and the people in this building that make a difference. So we look forward to that collaboration. It’s going to be fantastic.”
Cassandra Willis, Director of the Parent Center, has made it her mission to build the bridge that connects parents to the schools. “What is the parent center all about? It is about making sure that every family that walks through those doors is taken care of. Families have always been something that has driven me and inspired me to do greater things.” Willis, a former principal at Home Gardens Academy, brought with her the parent engagement practices that are still in place at Home Gardens. “We want to be able to provide those wonderful resources to our families, whether it’s parent education workshops, family engagement opportunities, or mentorships programs, we provide training for our school sites. All of these things we hope will benefit our community.”
Ailsa Villela, a parent herself who works as a Community Assistant at the Parent Center, shared her experiences at Home Gardens Academy that will be standard practice at the Parent Center. “The key to my success with my children, my family, my school, my community, has been through parent engagement,” she said. “When I became a mother, I realized I was going to need more if I wanted to see a change with my children. And I saw that change through parent engagement, there I learned I needed to take that quality time with them. There I learned that I needed to practice the academics and math and reading at home. Without the support at the school sites, I don’t know how successful I would have been. I work with passion and I love my community and I know that if I wouldn’t have taken that path or first class at Home Gardens Academy as a parent, I wouldn’t be standing here today as a community assistant.”