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Joint Program Teaches Parents About Higher Education
Parents in classroom
Parents at Sonora High School are taking classes to learn how their children can prepare and attend college thanks to a partnership between the Parent Institute for Quality Education (PIQE) and Cal State Fullerton.

Parent Institute for Quality Education (PIQE) aims to bring schools, parents and community members together as partners in the education of under-served children.

May 18, 2006

Martha Alicia Santiago once thought college was an unattainable goal for her kids.

"Having children is the most beautiful thing," she said."Every parent wants what's
best for their kids, and I often thought college would be wonderful but just a dream that could never be realized."

The La Habra mother of five — ages 5, 8, 12, 16, 17 and 36 — now knows better.
Through a class being offered at Sonora High School by the Parent Institute for
Quality Education (PIQE) in partnership with Cal State Fullerton, Santiago said she's learned what it takes to make that college dream come true.

"I have learned so much about how to prepare my kids for college and about
scholarships and financial aid," Santiago said."I learned there is help, and PIQE is a great program for parents to see that their kids can go to college and be successful."

That is the goal of the program, said Juan Dominguez, executive director of PIQE's Santa Ana office.

PIQE is a nine–week parent–training program that aims to bring schools, parents and community members together as partners in the education of under-served California children. The CSU is providing $575,000 in funding so that CSU campuses — including Fullerton — can partner with local schools to offer the PIQE program. PIQE is providing matching funds for the three-year effort.

CSUF has linked up with Sonora, La Habra and Fullerton high schools, Nicolas
Junior High and Richman Elementary School. Begun in April, the program at Sonora has 20 parents participating in a morning class and 50 parents attending in the evening. The program at La Habra High will commence this summer and at the other schools in the fall. Over the next two years, CSUF will partner with different schools, said Donald S. Castro, special assistant to President Milton A. Gordon.

"This is a parent involvement program," Dominguez said."It is especially for low-income parents. We want their children to finish high school, go to a university and get a degree, so we're teaching the parents about the school system, how to get involved, how to read report cards and school accountability reports and what the requirements are for college and financial aid."

According to the 2000 U.S. Census,"only 50 percent of students from low-income homes graduate from high school," Dominguez said."Of those, only 13 percent are prepared to go to a four-year university, and only 2 percent of those get a degree. That's why we believe we need to inform parents and give them a 'college is within our reach' mentality."

Since its inception in San Diego in 1987, PIQE has graduated more than 350,000 parents and guardians throughout California.

PIQE"is training parents to serve as change agents," Castro said."It is a wonderful opportunity for parents to learn to encourage students to be successful and to instill in them the idea that college can be a reality for them."

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