IPE Graduation - Fall 2016After completing nine weeks of workshops that were designed to help educate parents about the social, emotional, academic and cultural aspects of the school system, 94 parents, from six different LCPS schools, graduated from the Institute for Parent Engagement (IPE) program, Wednesday, Nov. 2 at the Oñate High School Performing Arts Center, 5700 Mesa Grande Drive.

“It is essential for us, as parents, to be engaged in our children’s education from elementary school through high school,” said Alex Flores, a parent who graduated from the IPE program at Camino Real Middle School. “IPE was great, because it allowed us to interact with other parents and learn critical information, which helps us prepare our kids for college.”

In order to graduate, parents had to complete the nine-week program, which is made up of six, one-and-a-half-hour long facilitated workshops, one question and answer session with the school principal and a graduation ceremony. The program is provided at no cost to LCPS families, and free childcare is provided during each workshop.

“The program gives parents the resources they need to be successful at every step of their child’s education,” said Brigette Zigelhofer, IPE “IPE is a great resource for information. It not only explains how to help the students academically, it helps parents deal with the difficult social and emotional changes that every child goes through.”

“When I first started the program I asked, ‘what can I get from this,’ and by the time I finished, I found myself looking for ways that I could help other parents and the teachers and administrators,” said Manuel Arellano, a parent who graduated from the program at Las Cruces High School. “I was overwhelmed by all of the information it [IPE] gave me and by the doors it opened up for my five grandkids.”

Since the program is offered at LCPS schools on a rotating basis, this semester the program was offered at the following schools: Alameda Elementary, Doña Ana Elementary, Monte Vista Elementary, Camino Real Middle, Lynn Middle and Las Cruces High.

To date, IPE classes have been held in more than 20 schools throughout the district. Zigelhofer said that next semester’s classes will be announced in the coming months. Although the classes are only offered at six schools, per semester, they are open to parents from any school in the district. Parents who plan to participate in next semester’s classes are encouraged to register by early January.

The program was started in 2013 as a way to provide information about child development and the school system, foster collaboration and networking opportunities among parents, and encourage parent participation in the school system. Since the program began, more than 1,200 parents have graduated from the program, and more than 50 of those graduates have continued to participate in the program as paid facilitators, recruiters and site monitors.

For more information, contact Zigelhofer at: (575) 527-6013 or ipe@lcps.net