With several dozen attendees including parents and students at the very first Parent Summit on March 11, Riverbank High School English teacher and Riverbank Unified AVID District Director Nancy Garcia deems the event a success. The summit was held on the Riverbank High School campus and was designed for Riverbank Unified School District (RUSD) families to gain knowledge and engage in activities to advance education in their children.
The Saturday event was organized by Garcia along with Riverbank Unified School District (RUSD) English Language Development Coordinator, Rosie Ramos and Program/Grant Manager CASA del Rio FRC, Araseli Zamora. RUSD Superintendent Dr. Daryl Camp noted that the summit idea originated a few years ago when parents and students communicated a desire to learn more about the pathway to college. Garcia took the lead in organizing and developing the Summit after attending a professional learning event focused on supporting Latino students.
The summit began with a continental breakfast, a welcome and introduction. There were two sessions which included workshops with college information, accessing technology, AVID (Advancement Via Individual Determination), mental health, literacy in the home, and guest speakers. There were informational booths set up by Central Valley Trust, Cricket, the Army and Casa Del Rio. Lunch was also provided to the guests that attended.
“The summit included a riveting keynote delivered by Riverbank High School graduate Marcelina Zamora who is now a school intervention counselor in Roseville,” stated Camp. “Ms. Zamora shared about her experience attending Rio Altura Elementary School, Cardozo Middle School and Riverbank High School. She really was thankful for the support that RUSD staff provided her while attending high school.”
Garcia added that Zamora “had the parents on their feet, laughing and crying when she spoke about her experience being raised in Riverbank” and going through the local schools.
Camp explained that Zamora shared that Coach Dwight Smith bought her shoes so she could participate in cross country and office staff members Suzie Andalon, Pam Miller and Rita Tigert supported her daily and helped her attend the prom. Zamora also gave parents advice, asking them to have structure at home and support the students. She added that parents need to be more parents and less of a friend to their sons and daughters. And that this “tough love” approach will be appreciated more as students grow up into adulthood.
“Dr. Camp gave a wonderful welcome speech in Spanish letting parents know that the reason the district supported the summit was because parents asked for this information from his community meetings regarding LCAP,” said Garcia.
“Some parents said that they really appreciated having the opportunity to hear Dr. Miguel Molina’s presentation on the Pathway to College Success,” expressed Camp. “Other parents said that the speaker was excellent and motivational.”
There are plans to host another Parent Summit next year and the school district is in the process of hiring two parent liaisons to assist with supporting the parents.
“Although both parent liaisons will operate out of a soon-to-be-developed parent center, one parent liaison will have a district-wide focus and the other will work to support parent engagement efforts at Cardozo Middle School,” explained Camp. “Earlier this school year, RUSD applied for and was selected to receive the School Improvement Grant (SIG) that will provide approximately $6 million over the next five years to Cardozo Middle School. The SIG is funding one of the parent liaison positions.”
The superintendent added that it’s “an exciting time” for the Riverbank Unified School District community.
“We’re doing all that we can with our resources to support students in realizing their dreams,” he said.