Empowering Parents for 35 Years
There is an old saying: “There are only two lasting things we can give our children. One is roots; the other is wings.” The Parent Institute for Quality Education (PIQE) does not take those words lightly. In fact, they are deeply rooted in their work as they strive to empower parents, lifting the voices of English learners, immigrants, refugees and low-income families, so that they have the knowledge and the tools they need to give their children wings through a good education.
Eleven years ago, one of their families – a father and a mother of two middle school girls – was attending their Family Engagement program. One day, the father stopped showing up to class. They learned that he had been deported to Mexico. Sometime later, during the Principal’s Dialogue, an important step in preparing parents to engage in conversation with school administrators and teachers, the father showed up to the school. He walked into the room with blistered, bloodied, and swollen feet. He apologized profusely for having shown up with no shoes. Everyone in the room was awestruck. This father, understanding the importance of his daughters’ education, traveled miles across the harsh desert with bare feet, so that he could attend this very important part of the program.
PIQE, with the help of their partners, sponsors, funders, and board provides evidence-based Family Engagement programs nationwide. Most of their work is currently dedicated to California families and schools. Serving nearly 400 schools from 130 school districts and more than 18,000 families annually, they partner with families, educators, and communities to create academic environments for all to learn, grow and thrive. In doing so, they address the holistic needs of families, teachers and schools to develop robust partnerships and outcomes.
PIQE knows it is important work, and not just because of the findings of a 2018 longitudinal study conducted by San Diego State University that showed students whose parents participated in PIQE’s Parent Engagement program graduated from high school at a higher rate than peers with similar backgrounds (96% compared to 80% reported by CDE). And not because the study also showed these same students enrolling in college or university at a higher rate (70% compared to 40% reported by CDE).
The organizations work is important because when they provide children with a clear pathway to a brighter future, parents show up. Showing up is the greater part of success! It is also characteristic of the courageous and resilient families they serve. This is just one story of more than 750,000 in their history as an organization. It is true evidence of their work and success with parents, students and educators over the past 35 years. It is proof that when parents are empowered to be a voice in their children’s education, they will do whatever it takes. They have seen how a child’s academic performance improves with parent engagement and, ultimately, changes the trajectory of their future. This is PIQE’s promise.