Dedra Arthur, Community Liaison
Amelia Earhart Learning Center
N. Westmoreland Rd.
Dallas, Texas 75212
April 29, 2003
It has been a pleasure having you at our school, Amelia Earhart Learning Center, this year, conducting two parent programs-"Bringing Parents and Schools Together" and "La Cultura Cura" (Culture Connection).
In addition to the wonderful information you shared with the parents, the experience not only helped to foster good relations among the parents themselves, but increased significant parent participation threefold over the past nine years. As community liaison, my primary responsibility is to encourage parents to involve themselves in school activities, pursuant to a nationwide consensus that students of involved parents experience more academic success. In that this is the premise upon which this school and 15 others in the Dallas ISD are based, I am confident that these results will go a long way towards improving school climate; this is particularly as it relates to the parent-teacher relationship, and, most importantly, the academic prowess of our student population, despite the environmental and economic challenges of our community.
At the conclusion of your 6-series workshop, "Bringing Parents and Schools Together", parents did not hesitate to express their desire for more. The 8-series "La Cultura Cura" program could not have been a better choice. It exposed parents to valuable information about their own cultures, as well as others, which to that point may not have seemed so important. They learned the origin of many of their familial practices, i.e., foods they eat, celebrations they hold, clothing they wear, etc. Several parents from the primary cultures we studied--African-American and Hispanic--admitted to not knowing much about these origins, prior to this class. The pride and delight at being able to freely explore these connections shown brightly on their faces.
Other benefits garnered from your program included the self-pride and self-worth that overcame them uncontrollably. Additionally, they met neighbors that they had seen from time-to-time at school, but never knew (in several cases) they lived on the same street. Some admitted that the weekly class was a welcome change from long days at home alone, doing housework and waiting to pick the children up from school. In bringing along their two and three-year-olds, parents witnessed firsthand their children's openness towards other children and eagerness to share their young ideas, games and language with one another, fearless to the supposed differences between them. Also, for the first time in the 8-year existence of our school's parent resource center, parents utilized it as was originally intended--to make themselves at home, caring for it and learning in it--a home away from home. They now are anticipating doing little things next school year to make it a true resource center, with the personal touches of each of their cultures.
We here at Earhart are eternally grateful for your vision in developing such a valuable and much-needed program. Both teachers and parents have noticed the "change" in their students, who displayed daily excitement and classroom enthusiasm, at the knowledge that their parents were "coming to school". We look forward to working with you next school year, as, with your help, we are committed to broadening our parent base, hence magnifying our students' academic success.
Again, thank you so much for all you do.
Community Liaison & Site Coordinator,
21st Century Community Learning Center, Grant Program