By FERNANDO DEL VALLE
Valley Morning Star
HARLINGEN -- Like hundreds of other parents Saturday, Guadalupe Chavez learned
love means helping your child with the homework.
And her 9-year-old son Claudio found out why his mother looks over his
shoulders when he opens up his schoolbooks.
"My mom takes care of me," he said.
About 1,000 parents and teachers learned how they can work together to better
children's education at the Harlingen school district's ninth annual Parent
Involvement District Conference.
"I learned you need to have a lot of patience to help them," said Chavez, a
Harlingen housewife. "It's very important that parents motivate their children
in their education."
Schools Superintendent Jesus Chavez said parents and teachers from around the
Valley made it the district's biggest conference.
"It's critically important that parents get involved to better serve our
students," he said. "One of the great things I've seen is the combination of
teachers and parents working together for the students. You see parents of all
ages, grandmothers, (and) extended family. This is bringing the school and the
Keynote speaker Margie Mancillas, assistant vice president for student affairs
at the University of Texas at Brownsville and Texas Southmost College, told
parents they were the critical link between home and school.
"Schools are beginning to realize they can't do this by themselves, that
parents are critical partners with schools for their children's educations,"
said Mancillas, the keynote speaker who replaced university President Juliet
Garcia, who was absent because of illness.
Getting involved in a child's education is part of the love of being a parent,
"Children need to know you are the most important person in their lives," she
said. "Children need to know you care about their education, about their
friends, about what they do both in and outside the school."
In classrooms across Harlingen High School, guest speakers urged parents and
teachers to work together to better students' education.
As part of a child's overall education, parents and teachers have the
responsibility to instill moral values in children, said Christina Garcia, the
district's assistant superintendent for personnel.
"We see in this world that the family is failing," Garcia told a group of
parents and teachers in Spanish. "We must be strong to rebuild the things that
have failed. We have to have the courage to teach children good values."
Parents pass their sense of values to their children, Garcia said.
"If we don't show respect, how are our children going to learn it?" she asked
In her keynote speech, Mancillas stressed homework was part of a parent's job.
"Homework should be a concern for the entire family," she said. "You need to
show them that education and homework are important."
Children whose parents help them with their homework do better in school,
"Monitor assignments you need to make sure you're there," she said.
"Children complete their homework with more success under the supervision of
Parents must get involved in every aspect of a child's education, she said.
"It's important to be in contact with your children's teachers and guidance
counselors," she said.
Maribel Muoz said she feels her mother's love when she helps her do her
"It shows they're interested; they give us our support," said Muoz, a senior
at Harlingen South High School.
Anna Maria Zamora came from Brownsville to learn how to be a better parent.
"We're here to strengthen our parenting skills," she said. "The old values are
being lost and we have to find solutions."