By Susan Motander
Monrovia Unified School District offers a nine-week program that teaches parents how to prepare their children for high education, how to understand university entrance requirements and how to navigate the complexities of financial aid and scholarships. The program is called PIQE (Pronounced Pee Kay) which stands for Parent Institute for Quality Education.
Hilda Olmos, a parent who recently graduated from the program said “I wanted to go to college, but I didn’t know anything about what courses to take or how to pay for it.”
She has a 10th grade daughter, Desiree, who dreams of being the first member of her family to attend college. Her dream includes being a student at Stanford Medical School. Hilda Olmos said the PIQE program “has taught me what I need to know so that my children can have the opportunity I wasn’t able to have for myself.”
Olmos was only one of 37 parents who “graduated” from the PIQE program at a ceremony last month at which their children cheered them on.
The principal at Monrovia High School is Kirk McGinnis. He praised the PIQE program saying, “Our students are most successful when we approach education not just for them, but also when we look at how we can educate those around them.”
The PIQE program is not just from parents of high school students looking at attending college in the near future. There are PIQE programs for the parents of children of all ages.
At the high school level the focus is on California Standards, the importance of grade-point averages and how to motive their youngsters to improve their academic performances to prepare for college.
For the parents of elementary and middle school children, there are workshops that, according to the district, “include positive discipline techniques that encourage academic achievement and how to prepare for teacher conferences.” The workshops give parents a chance to participate in open discussions and receive advice from other parents as well as the PIQE mentors.
The PIQE program is offered in the mornings and evenings, with classes taught in Spanish and English.
After the initial PIQE program, graduates are able to enroll in a second year that includes workshops that focus on other issues including leadership. These workshops provide more in-depth information on the topics covered in the first year.
The PIQE program began three years ago at only one school in the district. It is now offered at all the District sites.
Monrovia’s Superintendent of School, Katherine Thorossian took pride in the program. It was also one of the programs to which all the candidates for the school board in the debate before the election alluded.
The superintendent recently said: “Parent engagement through programs like PIQE is a strong demonstration of our community’s commitment to our students’ education. Empowering our parents through education is incredibly beneficial for our students. We offer parents the opportunity to participate in this valuable program every year, and they should contact their child’s school for more information on how to enroll.”