<!--:es-->PARENTS STEP AHEAD Kicks off the School Year Successfully!
…Over 400 parents attended the seminar at FM Gilbert Elementary<!--:-->

PARENTS STEP AHEAD Kicks off the School Year Successfully! …Over 400 parents attended the seminar at FM Gilbert Elementary

Dallas, TX – Parental involvement, Parenting with Love and Logic and How to Speak to Your Children were the focus of the evening. The event, organized by Parents Step Ahead and Irving Independent School District, was held on September 24, 2009 from 5:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m. at Gilbert Elementary in Irving, Texas.

“It’s exciting and encouraging to see the support and interest that our parents are taking into their children’s education. It’s also wonderful to see the passion that the entire faculty has for the students. Congratulations for a very successful event,” stated Ofelia Melendez, Vice President, Greater Southwest Region’s Operations Team for McDonald’s, who was present at the event handing out meals to the families. McDonald’s has actively supported Parents Step Ahead since 2008 by contributing meals for the programs.

Parents Step Ahead has developed a new outreach component consisting of “Ambassadors”. The “Ambassadors” are made up of teachers, counselors and school officials who actively pursue parents who have never participated in their children’s school activities or visited their schools. Gilbert Elementary was the first school to implement the Ambassador initiative. “We had 45 ambassadors, all of which actively pursued parents to attend the seminar by personally making phone calls and writing letters. Thanks to their commitment and dedication the event at Gilbert Elementary was a total success. All the ambassadors were present for the event and helped with child care, directing parents to different locations, were at the registration tables, and helped pass out bags to parents,” affirmed Lupita Colmenero, Founder of Parents Step Ahead.

“We are happy to reward teachers for their great contributions and hard work through the PSA Ambassadors initiative. They have first hand information about the parents and the students, and even though their participation with our organization is absolutely voluntary, we are glad to offer some type of reward. We know that the teacher winner of the laptop will use it as a tool to benefit his or her students,” stated Lupita Colmenero.

“Parents Step Ahead is a wonderful event to educate and motivate parents on the importance of parental involvement in their child’s life. As teachers we are always looking for opportunities to increase the quality of parent engagement and support in their children’s education, and Parents Step Ahead has greatly contributed to do this here at Gilbert Elementary. I encourage all teachers to become Ambassadors of this initiative, it is really worth it,” said Jose Quijano, 3rd Grade Bilingual Teacher at Gilbert Elementary, and the winner of the lap top at the first Ambassador raffle.

Maurice Walker, Parent Involvement Coordinator, Irving Independent School District, who was also present, mentioned, “Parent involvement is very important obviously, and the Parents Step Ahead organization is really a vehicle by which our district is able to give a better connection with our parents through Parents Step Ahead. The parents and schools have a better understanding of what our mission is in reaching these children. I applaud their efforts and I am happy to be a part of this.”

In December, the yearlong program concludes with an awards ceremony to recognize the Parents of the Year. Winners are selected based on program participation and two essays; one written by the parent on the importance of parental involvement in a child’s life, and one by their child on why their parent or guardian should be Parent of the Year. A selection committee composed of local and national community and corporate leaders selects the winning essays. This years Parents of the Year will be honored on December 4, 2009 at the Crowne Plaza Market Center in Dallas, Texas.

About Parents Step Ahead

Parents Step Ahead is a 501-C3 non profit organization and works in partnership with school districts, corporations and community organizations to offer a series of half-day school-based programs for parents of all backgrounds throughout the calendar year. Educators, motivational speakers, community volunteers and parenting experts present seminars on topics such as gang awareness, drug use prevention, underage drinking, com­puter literacy, Internet safety, raising kids with love and logic and health and finan­cial issues. Speakers focus on ways parents and legal guardians can be involved in their child’s life and the difference their involvement can make. Each program also includes free breakfast, childcare and gift raffles, culminating in the raffle of computers and printers. www.parentsstepahead.org

About Irving Independent School District

A school district based in Irving, Texas (USA). The district, which covers 48.5 square miles, serves most of the city of Irving, except for Valley Ranch and a portion of Las Colinas. For more information you may visit: www.irvingisd.net