Engaging Families in Education
When The Concilio hosted a field trip for 70 parents and their children to The Fort Worth Museum of Science and History, it was an exciting first visit for many of the attendees.
As The Concilio’s coordinator worked to usher everyone to the opening exhibit, she noticed a group of parents congregating at the front of the Museum.
She approached the group of parents and found them huddled around a globe. One of the fathers was emotional.
“What is it?” she asked the father.
“La tierra,” he answered in Spanish.
The coordinator hesitated for a moment, as “tierra” means “land” or “soil.” But then she realized he was using “tierra” to mean “earth.” Globe.
The father explained that he had never seen a globe before; he had only seen the world on a map.
A trip to the museum. The sight of a globe for the first time. These are some of the many moments that change the lives of the parents and children served by The Concilio.
An award-winning nonprofit organization, The Concilio empowers parents to improve the education and health of their families. Its programs help parents build the confidence and skills they need to successfully engage in their children’s education and growth.
The Concilio’s signature “Parents Advocating for Student Excellence” (PASE) program boasts a 90.2% high school graduation rate among the children whose parents attend the program. It also has ensured that 78% of those parents’ children who graduate high school move on to post-secondary education.
The Concilio’s impressive outcomes are achieved by employing an authentic approach to partnering with parents. The organization’s philosophy on parent engagement establishes it as a leader in the field and trusted partner to the families it serves.
Throughout The Concilio’s growth and expansion into new geographies (including Fort Worth and Florida, just in the last year), its team members have reflected on their successes, strengths, and lessons learned. Many of the field staff have a reservoir of experience to draw from, having been with the organization for over 10 years.
From this strategic perspective, The Concilio developed a list of pillars that serve as the foundation for how it conducts business. These five pillars embody the essential truths that characterize how all Concilio professionals approach their work:
- We believe that parents love their children and want the best for them. This pillar enables The Concilio to confidently enter new schools and neighborhoods with a genuine respect for parents’ intentions, and optimism regarding their partnership. Aligned intentions and mutual respect are the beginnings of a successful and trusting relationship with parents.
- We believe that parents are the experts on their child. The Concilio’s CEO, Florencia Velasco Fortner, tells a powerful story of her upbringing. Florencia explains that her mother had a 2nd grade education, and her father never went to school. She says that both her mother and father, however, had Ph.D.’s in Florencia. This viewpoint shifts the conversation to one in which parents’ unique expertise is valued and, in fact, essential to their children’s success.
- We partner with parents. A top-down process for parental education and coaching can quickly alienate parents. The Concilio respects the singular role that parents fulfill as the first and primary teachers of their children. This foundational belief helps both parents and professionals to approach the table with an appreciation of the essential value that the other brings to the relationship.
- We build one-on-one relationships with parents. Seeing every relationship as an equitable one, The Concilio team is open to discovery during the course of their work with parents. With this mindset, staff members do not just impart one-sided wisdom; parents provide invaluable insights that help shape the program content. Instead of being passive recipients of information, parents actively influence how programs will be created and delivered.
- We inspire change. Through shared vision and collaboration, The Concilio helps parents change key behaviors at home that transform their children’s ability to learn and succeed in school. The other four tenets provide the framework necessary for this change to take place.
The Concilio inspires parents and equips them with the tools they need to help their children thrive in school and in life. We are proud to support The Concilio’s mission and vision as it impacts the lives of families in Fort Worth.