ATWATER -- Schools have been developing relationships with parents for many years, and this partnership is thriving at Atwater High School.
Most days, a half-dozen parents visit the Parent Resource Center in Room 111 of the Fruitland Avenue campus, said Maricela Perez, school-community resource liaison. It's a valuable connection that's open to anybody.
Atwater High Principal Alan Peterson said the school tries to reach out to parents and involve them in campus life in as many ways as possible. Developing efficient and productive ways to communicate with parents is paramount.
For those unable to visit the school during the day, monthly Parent Resource Nights are held. About 30 parents attended the most recent session last week.
"I try to guide them where to go," Perez said. "I'm the connection between parents and the school. It varies; some days we get five or six parents and sometimes one or two. They come and go."
Carmen Ildefonzo, freshman counselor, said the Parent Resource Center looks for creative and fun ways to get parents involved. A partnership began last year with Buhach Colony High School and nearly 100 parents attended a dance; this tradition will continue May 18.
Peterson said a needs assessment is taken every spring and the year's agenda is developed based on those identified goals. This parent-school collaboration began about six or seven years ago.
Perez is working on getting language-tutoring software loaded on Resource Center computers so more parents can learn English. She helps parents who don't have computers search for jobs and develop résumés.
Ildefonzo said it's essential to have something welcoming for parents so they feel comfortable coming to the school. Many of the parents visiting the Parent Resource Center are Spanish-speaking; a Hmong liaison also is provided.
"Atwater High School recognizes that parents, students and school staff can work together to help our students achieve success," Ildefonzo said. "We provide information on college requirements, graduation requirements, financial aid and school resources.
"Also we invite community agencies and programs to educate the parents on various topics such as health care, tax information, immigration, county programs and gang awareness," Ildefonzo said.
Information on school safety, testing standards and the transition to common core instruction was presented at February's evening meeting.
The sessions, held the last Tuesday of the month, involve counselors, the Hmong and Spanish liaisons, and administrators.
Reporter Doane Yawger can be reached at (209) 385-2407 or email@example.com.