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.

2018 January Newsletter – Graduation Rates Increase!


I am writing you today to let you know that despite our difficulties as a state and district, Salem Keizer students are making progress, and will continue to do so, but only if all of us continue at the heavy pace we have been working for the last five years.

See the new graduation report in this Statesman Journal article by Natalie Pate, highlighting both the district and our organization.

We must all take responsibility in pulling Oregon’s education outcomes up from at best mediocre (reading and math in the low to mid-average range) and at worst, the third lowest graduation rate in the nation.

I believe strongly that the success of our children in education is in the hands of parents, schools, districts, government, businesses, community members, city leaders, the health industry, and the social services and nonprofit sectors. We must work together, as a team, with a singular but inclusive and focused approach, using the equity lens to provide all the components our children need to succeed. We need a combination of advocacy, family partnerships and community collaborations.

We can do this together. And Salem Keizer Coalition for Equality is doing its part. Working with parents, ECONorthwest reports show students’ Chronic Absenteeism rates have drastically reduced for the children of parents we serve. State data show that not only has Salem Keizer’s overall graduation increased, Latino student graduation has gone up at even higher rates.

Over the past 14 years, we have brought informative motivational workshops to and supported leadership and self determination for at least 7000 Spanish speaking immigrant parents in just the Salem Keizer District alone, not to mention another 2000 parents in other districts.

We are successful because we are parents who have been there. Staff members are parents who have the same struggles, the same immigrant backgrounds, the same lived experience. Parent/staff who are imperfect, passionate, vulnerable role models, coaches, and friends, who encourage others to ENVISION SUCCESS and take leadership in their homes, in their schools and in their community.

However, this takes money and lots of it. In the last five years, we have intensified our outreach and our program depth and breadth. The results continue to climb. We want more than just attendance. We need to see great increases in reading and other subjects. We need to see reductions in discipline and dropout rates. We believe that SKCE has the key to the missing puzzle piece of Education Reform. 

Latino students are 39% of our student body. Their success means the district’s success. We are ready to ramp up the number of schools we work in. We have schools and parents asking for our programs that we can’t pay for yet.

  • Our maximum outreach has been ten Title I schools yet there are 37.
  • Only three of our 20 Title I elementary schools with ELL programs have our parent led literacy intervention program for K-2 students.
  • And only twice in four years have we been able to run our unique, incredibly popular, 10-week parent-led preschool.