Thank You Spirit Mountain Community Fund!

On March 14th, 2018, the Spirit Mountain Community Fund awarded a grant to SKCE. Annalivia Palazzo Angulo and Yadira Juarez received the $40,000 award for SKCE. The Spirit Mountain Community Fund awarded this grant to SKCE so that we can, using our Early Learning parent engagement programs, increase the success of Latino students with immigrant backgrounds and Spanish as their home language in the Salem Keizer School District. Thanks to the generosity of the Spirit Mountain Community Fund, these programs will be in several Title I elementary schools in the spring and fall of 2018.

Jack Giffin, Jr., Yadira Juarez, Annalivia Palazzo-Angulo, Sho Dozono, and Mychal Cherry

SKCE Works to Help Parents Reduce the Achievement Gap

There is an achievement gap between ELL (English Language Learners) and Latino students compared to White students in the Salem Keizer School District. Research shows that if struggling readers have not successfully met the achievement skills of their peers by third grade or age nine, we risk losing up to 75% of them to low performance, low attendance rates, failure to graduate, not being ready for college, or dropping out altogether. Our Parent Engagement programs are successful in affecting student success, from pre-school to high school, all of which use culturally relevant methods and curriculum, with Latino Parent facilitators who have the same culture and life experiences as participants.

Swegle parents graduate “Abriendo Puertas”

A child’s education begins at home and parents play a critical first role in helping build a bright future for their children. The Abriendo Puertas/Opening Doors program builds on parents’ lived experiences so that they can be first teacher at home. After parents graduate from Abriendo Puertas they have more resources to help their children in school.

Here’s some of the comments parents shared:

“I learned to make daily activities as learning opportunities for my children” -Rosemary

“I learned that even though I didn’t have a formal education, I was still capable of being my child’s first teacher” -Irma

Here’s some photos of the graduation at La Plazita:

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Parents and Youth Skill Building Conference


Together, we can accomplish this school year with success!

The Salem/Keizer Coalition for Equality has been working with Roberts High School with the High School Graduation Initiative grant. The coalition uses the strategy of preparing parents and youth together in order to reach their goals and succeed in school. Fathers and Mothers are the most important people in the world to encourage and support their teenage children as they prepare for higher education and their future life.

This summer program ended in September with the Skill Building Conference for Parents and Youth, held at McKay High School. Forty parents and twenty youth attended on Saturday the 27th. They were able to choose from two workshops—The Importance of Knowing our Culture” or “How to Influence our Children Positively.”

The guest speaker, Rick Puente, is a Juvenile Detective in the Woodburn Police Department. Rick was born in Oregon, attended school in Salem-Keizer, and graduated from McNary High School. He attended Chemeketa Community College and studied business and criminal justice. His focus has been in prevention and intervention of drugs, gangs and other problems that our youth face today. He talked to parents about the things they can do and strategies they can use to motivate their sons and daughters to improve their behavior and have success in school. The conference offered informational workshops and resources.

Detective Puente talked about his father, who has been blind his whole life, and who has taught him strong values and demanded respect. The most important value he learned from his father is honesty, and he wants parents to teach and expect these values from their children.


Educa e Inspira (Educate & Inspire) 2014


What does the Parent Organizing Project do?

• Engages low-income immigrant Latino parents in learning about their children’s education, their school system, and how to help their children succeed academically.
• Provides a16-unit “Educate and Inspire” curriculum, which is grounded in Popular Education philosophies and strategies.
• Supports interested parents to grow as leaders and advocates.

How does it Work? Who is Involved?

• The “Educate and Inspire” workshops are taught by parents who are trained facilitators from the Spanish-speaking immigrant community.
• Parents learn the skills they need to engage with their children at home and at their schools to ensure their children stay positively involved in education, graduate from high school, and obtain higher education and/or job and career skills.
• Parent facilitators receive ongoing professional development in facilitation, communication, Popular Education, and peer mentoring.
• Schools and districts contract and partner with the Coalition, and workshops are held at local schools.
• Recruitment is focused on relationship-building and customized outreach by other bilingual, bicultural parents in addition to school staff.

How does it Grow Leaders and Advocates?

Parents are encouraged to volunteer and take leadership positions in the schools and community. When an opportunity for civic engagement arises, parents are invited to participate; and are trained to be effective.

Through the POP, a previously disempowered parent may grow into a community and school leader, organizer, educator, and an agent of lasting change

What is the Goal?

To engage and equip Spanish-speaking parents to play a powerful role at home, at school, and in the community.

A high level of parent engagement at school and at home will help close the achievement gap between low-income students who are learning English and their native English-speaking, middle-class peers.

Educa e Inspira by the Numbers


SKCE featured at United Way MWV Campaign Kick-off celebration

Many thanks to the United Way MWV and to Randy Frank and Arturo Vargas for featuring SKCE at their Campaign Kick-off Celebration. United Way supported SKCE’s new parent-led literacy program, Leyendo Avanzamos/Reading Together We Advance, in the funding cycle of 2010-2012 and 2013-2015, to develop partners and expand the program to more schools.

Four Corners Elementary, with Principal Phil Decker, piloted the program for the first year, and Cesar Chavez Elementary, with Principal Olga Cobb, and Scott Elementary, with Principal Dave Bertholf, joined in the pilot for the second and third years. Now in its fourth year, Leyendo Avanzamos has added Hallman Elementary, with Principal Jen Vanslander.

Everyone is excited about the potential of the program to make a major impact on the generation of children that will be expected to pass higher common core standards and will be the first graduating cohort in 2025, with the goal of Governor Kitzhauber, 40-40-20: that’s 40% graduating with a four year degree, 40% graduating with a two year degree or career skills equivalent, and 20% graduating from high school.

Parents learning tools to advocate for their children

January 2014 has been a busy month for our parent facilitators of our Educa e Inspira (Educate & Inspire) Program, part of our “College Begins at Home” Initiative. They facilitated 14 different workshops in various schools in the Salem/Keizer School District. An average of 15 to 20 parents attended each workshop.

Each workshop talks about various issues facing their children in education, and helps parents find ways to help their children succeed in school. Some of the topics of recent workshops are: Effectively Communicating with Schools, New Oregon Report Cards, State Test & Understanding your Child’s Learning Progress, Raising Achievement by Teaching & Supporting your Children at Home.

Here are some comments from some parents:

“I like coming to these workshops because I learned how I can help my child at home” -Maria Ramirez, mother of 3

“I want my children to succeed in school, and I want to learn what I need to do as a parent to make sure that happens” -Lorena Rodriguez, mother of 2

“Sometimes as parents we don’t know who to help our children due to the language barrier but in these workshops I’m able to communicate my concerns in my own language and learn to help them better” -Teresa Gonzalez, mother of 3