January 8, 2013. The Mayor¡¯s Office of Education Initiatives and community partners Houston A+ Challenge, Neighborhood Centers and FamiliesEmpowered, joined by parents and educators, gathered at Ripley House in Second Ward to launch the ¡°Is My Child Ready?¡± parent outreach campaign.
The campaign coincides with the release of students¡¯ STAAR test results by area school districts scheduled for this spring. The STAAR exams are part of the state¡¯s new standardized academic accountability system. The campaign will target ¡°hard to reach¡± parents to encourage them to ask their schools key questions about their children¡¯s performance on the STAAR test.
¡°We all know that education is the key to success,¡± said Houston Mayor Annise Parker. ¡°This campaign is designed to empower parents by informing them of steps they can take and resources they can access to help their children succeed in school and prepare them for a bright future.¡±
The campaign will promote parents¡¯ long-term involvement in their children¡¯s education with an emphasis on post-secondary readiness. Currently, more than half of Texas freshmen in two-year colleges and nearly a fourth in four-year schools require remedial courses. Deficient academic preparation also leads to low rates of college completion.
¡°The goal of this campaign is to help increase parents¡¯ understanding of where their children stand on the pathway to post-secondary readiness,¡± said Dr. Scott Van Beck, executive director of Houston A+ Challenge. ¡°The broad coalition of community partners involved in this effort demonstrates that improving student post-secondary readiness is mission critical for ensuring the future success not only of children and families but also of the Houston region, our state and our nation.¡±
The multi-media campaign will deliver messages in various formats, including billboards, signage on METRO buses, electronic communications via SMS texts, emails and campaign websites and posters at libraries, multi-service centers and schools throughout the Houston region. Public information sessions for parents will also be held.
TEXT ¡°READY¡± or ¡°LISTO¡± to 91011
The campaign invites parents to text ¡°READY¡± to 91011 or visit www.ismychildready.org for key facts and specific questions to ask schools about their children¡¯s STAAR test scores. Spanish-speaking parents can text ¡°LISTO¡± to 91011 or visit the campaign¡¯s Spanish language website www.estalistomihijo.org.
¡°We want parents to talk with teachers and counselors and become informed on what they can do every day to help their children do well in the classroom,¡± said Mark Cueva, Mayor¡¯s Office of Education Initiatives division manager. ¡°Asking questions about a student's performance on the STAAR test and what parents can do to help that child do better is a good starting point.¡±
¡°This campaign is about giving parents an entry point for that very important conversation,¡± said Matt Barnes, executive director of FamiliesEmpowered.
¡°Policymakers and schools can¡¯t act alone,¡± said Claudia Vasquez, senior vice-president and chief program officer of Neighborhood Centers, Inc. ¡°We must get parents and the entire community involved.¡±
For full information about the campaign, visit www.ismychildready.org.
The Mayor¡¯s Office of Education Initiatives is a division of the City of Houston Department of Neighborhoods. For information about the City¡¯s education initiatives, visit: www.houstontx.gov/neighborhoods.
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