MADISON, Neb. – A number of parents in one area community are getting the opportunity to learn how to be better engaged in their children’s education.
The National Center for Families Learning (NCFL) has awarded Madison Public Schools a three-year grant that is focused on four components: childhood education, adult education, parental education, and interactive parent-child literacy and learning activities. Partnering with educators, literacy advocates, and policymakers, NCFL develops and provides programming, professional development, and resources that empower and raise families to achieve their potential.
In Madison, parents in the program with children enrolled at Madison Elementary School participate in Adult Education classes two nights a week that are coordinated through Madison Public Schools and Northeast Community College. The classes are designed to impact family members as they work to achieve their full academic and career potentials, assist in English language learning, create lasting relationships among parents and children, and provide support in their child’s learning and development.
Madison Elementary School Principal Karla Kush said the classes serve as a gateway for parents to learn new ways to ask more questions and get involved in their children’s education.
“Not only here at Madison Elementary, but as their children enter middle school, high school, college, or other post-school choice. I really enjoy seeing parents getting to know staff at a more personal level while helping them learn English.”
Through the program, Madison Public School staff provide instruction for the children’s education with Northeast’s Adult Education program leading English language and adult basic skills classes for parents. The Family Literacy Program also focuses on time for parents to understand how to be the primary teacher as well as full partners in the education of their children along with time for parents to visit their child’s classroom in order for them to engage in joint learning activities with their children.
“This program brings so much happiness to me because it's been helping parents learn and understand English a little more in a matter of two months, which gets me super excited about how much more they'll be learning in the next five-to-six months,” said Mariela Millan, parent facilitator. “It's a program with positive outcomes and I couldn't be any happier to be a part of it.”
Parents also see the value the program will provide them as they get further involved in their children’s education.
Azalia Loredo said, "Well for me, the English classes that I am participating in have really been helpful in my personal life when personal information gets asked, for example, when I visit the doctor.”
"We are very happy with the opportunity they are giving us to learn English,” said Consuleo Cuevas.
Classes in the program began Oct. 1, and will meet for the remainder of the school year. Classes meet Tuesday and Thursday evenings from 6:30-8 p.m., at Madison Elementary School. Those interested may register for the program at any time during the year. During the registration process, they will be given an overview of the program and the hour requirements. Participants are required to attend five hours of family literacy each week, which consists of two hours of adult education, two hours of parent-children time, and one hour of parent time.
Emily Duncan, director of Adult Education at Northeast, said NCFL is funding the grant for three years with the understanding that the program has a consistent number of participants to make it sustainable. She said the goal is to establish it as a long-term program.
“The benefits of the program’s structure not only support the education of participants’ children, but it also helps parents pursue their own educational goals,” Duncan said. “And, the program is open to any family member who has a relationship with a child in Madison Elementary. We have aunts, uncles, and grandparents who are also attending.”
Parents of children not enrolled in Madison Public Schools but who have an interest in the program may contact the school for more information.
Duncan said the Family Literacy Program is invaluable in how it provides parents the means to be active players in the development of their children’s education.
“By partnering with Madison Public Schools, they are able to take adult education classes with on-site site daycare for their children, if needed. We have the opportunity to not only provide parents the tools and skills they need to be a partner in the education of their children, but also increase their own English language skills.”
For more information on the Family Literacy Program, call Madison Elementary School at (402) 454-2656, or the Northeast Community College Adult Education office at (402) 844-7255.