Jessica Johnson, from left, and her parent Patricia Johnson learn about scholarship opportunities with Carlos Gonzalez, college readiness coordinator, at a session titled “A Parent’s Guide to College Readiness.”
HOUSTON – April 9, 2018 – Parents attending the district’s inaugural Family Empowerment Conference and Expo on Saturday were treated to a variety of workshops and a keynote speaker designed to help them be more engaged in their child’s education.
“It was very motivating to moving forward to being a better parent and a leader in my child’s life,” said Felicia Nix-King, whose son is a senior at Wunsche High School. “I could not have spent my Saturday any better.”
Her comments echoed those of other parents who turned out to Dekaney High School for the event, which included opportunities to hear from district experts on topics as varied as Managing Parental Stress to a Parent’s Guide to College Readiness. The goal was to provide one-stop shopping for participants to get information and ask questions
“I just want to be an involved parent,” said Mellanie Tostado, whose daughter and two nieces attend Hoyland Elementary. “I’m interested in learning as much as I can.”
That attitude is key, said Dr. Lupita Hinojosa, chief of School Leadership and Student Support Services. “For us to be successful in school, we need our parents,” she said. “It’s that partnership between our parents and schools that’s going to ensure our students are successful.”
The event on Saturday was a joint effort between the district’s 21st Century Community Learning Center and the Family and Community Engagement department. More than three dozen vendors and departments were represented.
A highlight of the expo was a special keynote lunch presentation by author and motivational speaker Jimmy Cabrera, who spoke to parents about “What’s in their backpack.” That theme was a metaphor for equipping students with the values, character, education and self-esteem they need for success.
He urged parents to provide a positive influence on their children by making sure they model behaviors of self-worth and perseverance. “Attitude is everything,” Cabrera said. “If you want to make a difference in the life of a child, you need to examine if your heart is committed. You can never give up.”
Among the participants Saturday was Kathleen Moes, who said she wished “more parents would have taken advantage of this wonderful opportunity.”
She said it was clear there was a lot of preparation for the event, including the speaker and lunch. The meal was sponsored by Demeria Roberts Realty.
“My only regret is that I could not attend all the sessions,” she said. “It was very hard to choose which workshops to attend.”