“The Klein ISD Family Engagement Program empowers families to actively participate in their student’s education by engaging in meaningful partnerships with the schools to support the Klein ISD vision:
“In Klein ISD every student enters with a promise, and exits with a purpose!””
My children attend Klein Independent School District and have since Elijah started kindergarten back in 2015. Since then, it seemed like everyone in the school from the front office to the cafeteria workers knew the Sauls kids. As a working single mother, it became hard for me to attend certain events during school hours and sometimes even after-school because I would be so tired. Klein Intermediate started “Parent University” in the 2013-2014 school year through the Family Engagement Program. It was established to provide a way for parents to become more involved with the school. This would lead to better relationships between the school and parents, as well as, parents and their children, which would ultimately lead to better grades for the students. This school year, I had no other choice but to be more involved after having to deal with Edwin Jr., and his diagnosis of ADHD, which I have spoken up about recently. I went to the school several times and actively attended the programs they provided. The first program of the school year I attended was “Kindergarten Camp”, where myself and other parents brought their new kindergarteners for a few hours to the school for three nights. The camp was put together to provide a smooth transition for their students starting a big school. Edwin, of course, had already been to the school many times previously with his brother and sister so the only new thing we had to face was leaving him in a classroom by himself. During this camp, the kindergarteners left the parents and went into the classrooms while the parents interacted with each other. I believed this was an awesome way for the students to feel a little more comfortable before the first day of school. This was also a great way to meet parents who were all experiencing their babies going to school for the first time. This was only one of the five programs I attended provided by the Family Engagement Program allowing me to be a part of the Parent University’s Class of 2019.
This year’s graduating class consisted of myself and 267 other parents from Klein ISD. As I entered the building with my cap and gown in hand, there were greeters everywhere I turned. I think I heard “Congratulations” almost a hundred times that day. I entered a huge room which served as a holding area for all the graduates. Some of the parents included teachers and staff from my children’s school. Everyone had big smiles on their faces as they took pictures with their friends and even meeting other parents in their line. You could see and feel the excitement in the room. We stood in alphabetical order until they were ready for us to make our grand entrance where family, friends, and some of the districts’ staff awaited. We took our seats and the program began. Our keynote speaker was Mr. Bob Anderson, who is the Founding Principal of Parent University. He spoke on the journey Klein encountered in creating this program to form more parent activity in the schools. The graduation, to me, was just one of the “fruits of their labor”.
Click Here to view photos from the Graduation along with the one above provided by Klein Independent School District.
The key people to making the Family Engagement Program a success in each Klein ISD’s schools individually are the Parent Liaisons. Ms. Simon, who you see helping me get my cap on over this head, and Ms. Sanchez are the heads of this operation at Nistch Elementary. I remembered at the beginning of the school year Ms. Sanchez spoke about how memorable the graduations were and she would tell you every chance she got. She has been one of the main people to push me to complete the programs to become a graduate. She even brought me in the “Parent Center”, during one of my many visits, to make sure I had enough credits to become eligible. When she saw I only had one more program to go, she immediately went into the upcoming programs that would be held for me to earn my credit. We, then, started discussing the upcoming STAAR test. She printed off practice sheets for me to work on with the kids to help them better prepare at home. This is another example of the school helping the parents engage in their students success. Ms. Simon has been my listener, helper, and even my shoulder to cry on. Anytime she would come across valuable information or programs to help me out financially, she would call me. Anytime they offered help during Christmas time or throughout the year with essential items and uniforms at times, I knew about it. Doing this helped me to stress less and focus more on what was even more important, my children’s education. These women, along with so many other staff members, help create a safe and productive environment for the children of Nitsch Elementary while creating the same type of relationship with the parents.
When my children’s father passed, I moved out of my mom’s house about two months later alone with my children. I say all the time I felt like I had to learn them all over again. Even though I gave birth to them and were with them everyday, I started to view life with my children differently because I was now doing it alone. I had no idea what was in store for this journey. Even after watching my mother, a single parent of three, work multiple jobs to provide and do all she possibly could, it still would never prepare me for this endeavor. To this day, I sometimes feel like I’m sucking at it, but the staff of Nistch Elementary and a host of family and friends, help me daily to not suck at this parenting thing so much. I never had to have accolades for simply being a parent, but it felt good to be celebrated. The Parent University did just that. They showed me I’m doing my very best with what I am given and have provided many avenues to complete the VISION of the district, for every student to enter with a promise and exit with a purpose.