October 17, 2006
For immediate release
On October 3 Professor Richard Durán of UC Santa Barbara’s Gevirtz School presented the Parents Children and Computers Project as one model program for parent involvement as a way to reach federal No Child Left Behind goals at the ASAP: All Schools All Parents Forum in Louisville, KY. The innovative and engaging Parents Children and Computers Project serves immigrant Latino families in the Santa Barbara region. With support from community organizations, schools, and UCSB, participants learn how to use computers and the Internet to conduct research on current education policies and practices affecting their children, their families’ cultural and linguistic heritage and new community, and on community opportunities to learn English and other skills critical to family well-being. Participants also develop and disseminate desktop and electronic publications on their findings.
Dr. Durán’s presentation created excitement at the forum. Forum participants were especially moved by the parent desktop publication that was exhibited and by the opportunity to read parents’ articles voicing their sense of empowerment in learning how schools operate, and how they can become more directly involved in supporting the education of their children.
“The resiliency and capabilities of our immigrant families to adapt to life and educational opportunities in our communities is truly amazing and inspiring,” Dr. Durán says. “Given the opportunity to learn and contribute to community well being they take off. Computers and technology are resources they master quickly when given the chance to communicate to others in their own words and images.”
The All Schools All Parents Forum is presented by the Appalachia Regional Comprehensive Center (ARCC), one of 21 technical assistance centers funded by the U.S. Department of Education. The purpose of the comprehensive center is to provide state education agencies with intensive technical assistance to address No Child Left Behind (NCLB) requirements and meet student achievement goals. Dr. Duran’s presentation was sponsored by the Hispanic Family Learning Institute at the National Center for Family Literacy which is a core participating organization in ARCC.
At UC Santa Barbara Dr. Mary Brenner serves as co-principal investigator with Dr. Durán for the Parents Children and Computers Project at Isla Vista School. Thirty children ranging in age from pre-school to high school along with their parents partake in the program, making this a truly multi-generational experience that reinforces the notion of life-long learning. The program is partially staffed with UC Santa Barbara students who take the course Teaching and Learning in Sociocultural Contexts. This class provides students with instruction in ethnographic research skills and the opportunity to explore the possibility of teaching as a career.Dr. Durán’s work with Latino parents, technology, and school outreach is also tied to the Kellogg Foundation funded California Enlace Project, where he heads a multi-year initiative to network family-community programs statewide connecting Latino families to schools.
[Richard Durán is available for interviews; contact George Yatchisin at 805 893 5789.]