By Isabel Rojas
Community Collaborations Director

Park City Elementary Schools, in partnership with Promise Park City, hosted a Latino Back to School night in all four PC elementary schools. In addition to signing their kids up for afterschool programming and extended day activities, parents had the opportunity to learn more about services in their community to help support their families. Various organizations came together including Big Brothers Big Sisters, Holly Cross Ministries, Peace House, Summit County Library, the People’s Health Clinic, Park City Recycling Center, Valley Mental Health, Christian Center, Mountain Lands Housing, PC Foundation, and Mountain West Bank. Parents also had the opportunity to sign up for classes on their own such as ESL day or evening classes, computer classes, and a course for GED attainment–all of which are part of a Family Literacy Program for Latino adults in the Park City School District.

Aligning community partners around Back to School Nights, particularly for Latino families, is a wonderful opportunity for parents and families to learn more about free and low-cost resources accessible to them while at the same time enrolling their kids in programming. For principals and the Promise Park City partnership it is also a critical strategy to strengthen and build relationships with an often inaccessible population of parents. Principals hope this will be one of 2 or 3 Latino-focused parent events this year that will lead to more parent engagement in their PTA/Parent Council’s and increase Latino parent leadership and presence in the school.

United Way of Salt Lake and the Promise Park City partnership believe that parent engagement in the home and in the school is critical to student academic success. This partnership has made a commitment to parent outreach and engagement as a 2012-2013 priority and will be working closely with the schools to address barriers to parent participation through capacity and trust-building efforts.