WHITTIER – Twelve Whittier Union parents celebrated their graduation from the District’s Road to Success Parent Mentor Program on Oct. 14 by presenting videos showing how they will teach parents of English Learners how to find online school resources, monitor grades and strengthen children’s social-emotional well-being.

The virtual graduation ceremony, held largely in Spanish to reflect the first language of many Whittier Union families, marked the culmination of the District’s first Parent Mentor Program, a 10-week training effort created this summer.

“We are so proud of all our parents who take initiative to stay engaged in their child’s education,” Assistant Superintendent of Education Services Monica Oviedo said as she congratulated the group. “Parents are the very first step in the academic success of every student.”

The Parent Mentor Program, also called “El Programa de Padres Promotores del Camino al Éxito Univeritario,” trains parent volunteers to support their children as they pursue their education. The program is committed to closing the gap for students in the English learner program, supporting Spanish-speaking parents and creating a support system to navigate the challenges of distance learning.

Key responsibilities for parent mentors include attending such events as English Learner Advisory Committee (DELAC) workshops, co-facilitating and coordinating parent events and serving as ambassadors for the Parent Mentor Program.

The parent-created videos were played during the ceremony, giving the parent graduates a chance to showcase the specialized projects that were their focus during the program. The parents, clad in matching Whittier Union maroon, also shared why they joined the Parent Mentor Program.

“I wanted to help other parents become interested in their children’s education,” said Juan Ramirez, a parent from California High School and the first parent graduate of the night. “Our involvement is the first step toward our students reaching their goal of attending and graduating from college.”

“I became a parent mentor for the love of my son and our community,” Pioneer High parent Claudia Martinez said.

“We can learn at any age, any time, and anywhere,” Director of Federal & State Categorical Programs Francisco Meza told parents and guests. “You all are shining examples for our students and your children.”

A commemorative slideshow was played at the conclusion of the ceremony, with photos of each parent participating in various District activities and workshops. Each parent smiled and waved to the screen as virtual fireworks marked the event’s culmination.

“I would like to congratulate this motivated, engaged group of parents for completing our inaugural Parent Mentor Program and ensuring that they have the tools to help their children thrive,” Superintendent Martin Plourde said. “Learning begins at home, which is why parents play such a vital role in the education of our students.”

102220_WUHSD_MENTOR_1: Twelve Whittier Union High School District parents were honored for their involvement in the Parent Mentor Program during a virtual ceremony on Oct. 12.