For the past three years, the Kern High School District has been adding parent and family centers, which are funded through the Local Control Accountability Plan, to its comprehensive campuses in an effort to provide KHSD parents and guardians with opportunities for parent education, school leadership and volunteerism.
“The Kern High School District has worked diligently to increase the number of parent and family centers across our district. These centers provide parents and guardians access to valuable information, knowledge and the resources necessary to become strong education advocates for their children,” said KHSD Superintendent Bryon Schaefer.
Lucille Monroig-Serros, KHSD’s parent education liaison, added that the centers create collaborative opportunities between teachers, administrators, school personnel and community members to support students and their families.
“Parents now have community resources available, access to technology, parenting classes, guest speakers and workshops, among other things,” said Antonio Vargas, community specialist for the Highland High School Parent Center.
According to Monroig-Serros, in the 2013-2014 school year, parents from several campuses who served as representatives at district committees presented the idea of opening parent centers to the district’s superintendency.
“This particular group of parents envisioned having a place at each high school that parents can call their own and where all parents can gather to learn and to support their children,” Monroig-Serros said. “Out of those conversations, KHSD and the board of trustees approved piloting the creation of the first KHSD parent center.”
The first parent center opened at Arvin High School in 2015. KHSD currently has 15 centers, funded through LCAP: Arvin, Bakersfield, East, Foothill, Golden Valley, Highland, Independence, Kern Valley, Mira Monte, North, Ridgeview, Shafter, South, Stockdale and West high schools.
For Gema Castelo, mother of a Bakersfield High School junior, the parent center has allowed her to stay connected to her son’s school.
“The center is a place where parents can feel comfortable,” Castelo said. “For Hispanic parents, often times the first barrier to being connected with their child’s school is the language barrier. The parent center is a place where parents can come with confidence to get involved.”
Tere Quintana, the community specialist for the BHS Parent Center, said she has seen the center provide opportunities for parents to connect with each other and give one another help and advice.
Some of the services parents receive at the centers include translation of documents, computer classes, online English classes, nutrition classes and referrals to free community services.
“The hope is for KHSD parent and family centers to be the focal point for all parents visiting the schools and to continue creating parent programs that are inclusive of and welcoming to all parent groups,” Monroig-Serros said.
“We know that student learning increases when parents and families are engaged,” said Dr. Kenny Seals, LCAP supervising administrator. “Our goal is to partner with parents and parent centers are one way the KHSD is reaching out to provide a space, resources and programs to support engaging families and parents.” ￼