SOUTH WHITTIER – South Whittier School District has recruited a group of passionate parents as part of a new Parent Ambassador Program to inform the community about its programs and provide parents with information on how to get engaged and involved in their children’s education.
The K-8 school district has hired seven parents – one per school – to serve as word-of-mouth ambassadors, connecting with existing and prospective families and promoting the programs available at their schools. The robust grassroots marketing campaign launched in November.
“We want to make our classrooms and schools the happiest places on earth,” said Francisco Meza, director of school/community relations and program compliance. “We do this for the love of children, and support from our parents is critical to ensuring our students are excited to learn. If parents become vested in their children’s elementary and middle school experience, then we are setting a strong foundation for when they advance to high school.”
Parents work a minimum of four hours a month, often volunteering more of their time passing out event fliers, promoting District and school initiatives to community groups and recruiting parents to participate in school parent education trainings and the District Parent Center, where they can tap into valuable resources.
With training and support from the District, ambassadors reach out to families, advocate for their schools and enhance the student experience by offering support that will shape their academic and personal aspirations.
“It’s all about the children and getting our children ready for college and work life,” said Graves Middle School ambassador Armida Castellon-Romero, a parent and alumna of the District who has served as an unofficial ambassador for several years. “I’m very motivated and excited that this is going on. South Whittier is my family, my home. Your word as a parent is very powerful and people believe in you.”
Because engaging parents can be a challenge, the District has also hired a district community liaison, Brenda Venegas, to serve as a voice between parents and District staff.
“They’re my eyes and ears and they are parents who are familiar with the schools,” said Venegas, who has held the position for the last year and who also runs the District Parent Center. “It also builds their own self-esteem, empowering them to take charge in their own learning.”
The Parent Center, for example, hosts nutrition classes, organizes field trips to local colleges and provides job referrals. The ambassadors have played an integral role in getting more parents involved.
“These parents are already doing much of the work of an ambassador – they’re talking to neighbors, friends and community and giving their testimonies of how their own children are benefiting from attending our schools,” Superintendent Gail Baxter said. “They are a powerful voice in our community and we are incredibly grateful for the work they are doing to help their children succeed.”
012317_SWSD_PARENTAMBASSADOR: South Whittier School District Parent Ambassadors hold their monthly meetings to discuss past and upcoming events at their schools and surrounding communities. The K-8 school district hired seven parents – one per school – to serve as word-of-mouth ambassadors, connecting with existing and prospective families and promoting the programs available at their schools.