Harlandale ISD hosts Family Symposium to promote parent engagement

Harlandale ISD hosted an impactful and engaging Family Symposium on Jan. 30.

The symposium was held at the old Vestal Elementary building and was successful in connecting parents, grandparents and staff with useful information promoting family engagement, community resources and future student opportunities.

HISD Family and Adult Education Coordinator Sylvia Servin introduced Harlandale ISD Superintendent Gerardo Soto, who welcomed parents and invited them to take advantage of the different district and community resources available to them.

“There is a reason why we are doing this in the district, research shows that if the parent is involved, the student will be successful,” Soto said. “I want to thank you for being here and for being involved in your child’s life. There’s a lot of great things happening at Harlandale ISD.”

Guest speaker, Dr. Robert Garza, president of Palo Alto College, presented an informative discussion on the AlamoPROMISE, one of the partnerships between HISD and Palo Alto College. He encouraged attendees to learn more about the program, which offers two years of free tuition to Harlandale ISD graduating seniors. To be eligible, seniors have to complete the online pledge by Feb. 14, 2020.

San Antonio ISD Wilson Elementary Principal Dr. Jennifer Zavala followed and spoke about the importance of family involvement to increase communication between students and their parents. She also shared free community events available to families, such as the San Antonio Book Festival, and encouraged parents to read more with their children at home.

Throughout the remaining day, the attendees broke out into different groups to attend a variety of sessions presented by field experts to learn more about internet safety, bullying, mental health, immigration, relationship goals and more. All the sessions and presentations were available in English and Spanish. As an added bonus, parents received raffle prizes throughout the day and were treated to a delicious lunch in between sessions.

The event was organized by the HISD Sosa Parent Education Center staff to bring families together and further their knowledge on parenting to help their children be successful.

“They are really becoming a part of a community, they are learning to help each other, and they know they are not alone as parent,” Harlandale ISD Director of Student Support Services and Special Programs Nadine Wolfe said. “They realize other parents have the same issues, and they can talk together and grow together, and that is our main purpose, which is amazing to see.”

Servin agreed and added, “The more families are involved and hear about our community resources, the more they learn, and the stronger the community gets. We want to meet the needs of our families, so it’s just wonderful to be able to bring that to our families.”

Parents are encouraged to visit the Sosa Family Engagement Center Facebook Page at https://www.facebook.com/hisdfamily to learn about upcoming free family events in the district. For more information, please contact Sylvia Servin at (210) 989-4453.

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