Blog: Latino Ed Beat

Chicago Neighborhood Promotes Latino Parent Education

One predominantly Latino Chicago neighborhood demonstrates the important role community organizations can play in closing education gaps and increasing parent involvement.

The Logan Square Neighborhood Association works with parents to improve early childhood education in the area, writes the Hechinger Report..

Eight immigrant mothers, mostly from Mexico, have been trained to lead classes for other parents as “early childhood ambassadors.”

None of the women have attended college. However, they have learned how to emphasize to other parents the importance of early learning activities and enrolling their children in preschool.

“It’s an awareness we’re trying to build while linking families to resources,” the association’s early childhood directory, Lucy Gomez-Feliciano, told Hechinger.

The association also has a well-proven track record through its parent mentor program, which aims to recruit 10 parents per public school. The association places 120 “parent mentors” in public schools. Parents mentor students in the school that their children attend (but not in their child’s classroom).

The association’s lead education organizer at the time, Joanna Brown, told Hechinger that the program benefited the mentors’ children as well, even though they don’t mentor in their children’s classrooms.

“People’s goals for their children either go up or get really enforced,” Brown said. “That’s one of the big things they say – they learned how to help their kids at home.”