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LCPS Superintendent Stan Rounds extends a handshake to Valley View Elementary preschool student Amiah Trejo who leads her grandmother, Terra Hernandez, across the stage during the IPE graduation ceremony. Her grandmother and mother, Victoria Trejo, completed the parent engagement classes.

The roles were reversed when students watched their parents walk across the stage to receive their graduation diploma.  On November 11, 139 parents earned a certificate and a medal of completion from the Las Cruces Public Schools’ Institute for Parent Engagement (IPE) program. They join more than 1,000 other parents who have graduated from the program since it began 18 months ago.

In 2013, the school district initiated the IPE program to assist parents in learning about their child’s education and how to get more actively involved with the school system.  Brigitte Zigelhofer, IPE coordinator, said parents also learn about preparing their children for college with tips about financial aid, admission requirements and applying for scholarships.

Superintendent Stan Rounds addressed the graduates in the Oñate Performing Arts Center.

Parents who attended nine weeks of classes held at Hermosa Heights and Valley View elementaries, Sierra Middle School and Centennial and Mayfield high schools were also given an invitation from Dr. Dan Howard, the Executive Vice President and Provost of New Mexico State University, encouraging the students of the graduating parents to apply to New Mexico State University once they have completed high school.

Howard also touted the IPE program as “one of the great innovations of the Las Cruces school system.” He encouraged the parents to redeem the invitations they received for their children to attend NMSU or one of its community colleges, which comprise “a system where there’s a place for everyone.”

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Board Secretary Chuck Davis congratulates one of the graduating parents.

During this school semester, Zigelhofer said the parent classes also focused on understanding grade-point-averages and graduation requirements. Parents of elementary and middle school children also learned how their child’s self-esteem plays a role in their education, and how physical and emotional changes affect student performance.

The IPE classes have been held in 20 schools and continue to grow in popularity.  Zigelhofer said the free classes will be offered next semester at Mesilla Park, East Picacho and Tombaugh elementaries; Lynn and Camino Real middle schools; and Las Cruces High School.  She encourages parents to get registered by early January.

“Parents ask me all the time about when the program will come to their school,” Zigelhofer said.  “They’ve heard about the classes and they want to be a part of it.  The word ‘engagement’ really comes to life when parents are together in IPE.”

To register, parents can contact the IPE staff at 527-6013 or ipe@lcps.k12.nm.us.

 

 — For more information contact Brigitte Zigelhofer, at 527-6013 or bzigelho@lcps.k12.nm.us