The Hispanic Foundation of Silicon Valley has served over 390 parents through its Parent Education Academy. Our Parent Education Academy is composed of workshops from three key program partners, Parent Institute for Quality Education (PIQE) workshops, Family Engagement Institute, and United Through Education – Familias Unidas. We are thrilled that our program expands into Santa Clara and San Mateo Counties.
Since our pivot to online learning, we’ve learned that more parents are available and excited to engage with us. For instance, parents at Ravenswood Middle School in East Palo Alto eagerly requested to have a Level II of PIQE immediately after graduating from level I. Executive Director of PIQE Santa Clara, Libier Gonzalez, shares her perspective on the shift to a virtual mindset of Latinx parents, and key lessons moving forward.
Libier has been the Executive Director of the Parent Institute for Quality Education for six years. She directs and oversees operations in Santa Clara, San Mateo, Marin, and Sonoma Counties. Libier maintains close relationships with community leaders, foundations, corporations, local universities, and school administrators. She successfully graduates over 1,000 families a year and continues to impact the education of approximately 2,500 youth on an annual basis. She is committed to supporting families to partner with schools and communities in their path to students’ academic success.
What is the favorite part of your job?
I treasure diversity by embracing my Mexican roots, customs, and culture since I consider them a key element of one’s identity. I feel passionate about the work that we do at PIQE since I have witnessed first-hand the process of empowering parents from diverse ethnic and social-economic backgrounds who end our program becoming advocates for their children at school and in the community. I consider education as the only social equalizer. Sharing this mission and tools by supporting other parents, coworkers, and family has become a personal mission.
There are many aspects of my job that I find rewarding. The most gratifying part for me is to see parents taking the first small steps of reaching out to schools to ask for help or offer help. I think this is the beginning of their lifetime career, to serve as their students’ best advocates.
How has the COVID19 pandemic changed how you work?
With COVID-19 happening, we have taken a 360-degree shift within a matter of days since the shelter in place order. At the beginning parents were afraid to even try to connect through a video call platform but now they are actively participating in our discussions. Parents have also shared how they are using other tools and platforms to connect with relatives and how they receive other types of supports virtually. Going virtual for PIQE parents was intimidating at the beginning until they figured out how to use the tools /or they ask for help from their students. This has provided an opportunity to create an interesting connexion with their children. Students are around during our classes to make sure parents are connected or help them reconnect in case they lose connection.
Any last words?
The work of PIQE has been to engage, empower, and transform families by providing the knowledge and the skills to partner with schools and communities to ensure their children achieve their full potential. We are grateful to partner with the Hispanic Foundation of Silicon Valley and we hope to continue to impact the lives of many parents in our region.