My name is Vanessa Garcia and I am the parent of two students at N.E.W. Academy Canoga Park. My children are the second generation growing up here in the U.S. and although their grandparents speak Spanish to them, their own grasp of the language is minimal. As a parent navigating dual cultures, it’s important to me to encourage both languages. I live near N.E.W. Academy, and was fortunate my neighbors recommended it based on their own positive experience. When the local community shared with me that N.A.C.P. had a unique Dual Immersion Program in Spanish, that captured my interest and made all the difference when comparing other schools who did not provide this. At the end of my daughter’s year in Transitional Kindergarten, the office sent home a form asking parents to select their child’s Kindergarten class enrollment in an English Only or Dual Program. She is now in her third year at the academy and I am very grateful for her growth in both cultures ! I am very excited for all of the job opportunities a program like this will open up to them in the future!
When my oldest started Transitional Kindergarten, they invited parents to join a field trip with the class. In order for parents to go on this trip, we needed to fill out a volunteer form in the office and provide a vaccine card. After that, I was very involved in volunteering at the school. I spent my time cutting out shapes, organizing books in the school’s library, and being a chaperone on field trips. I was always excited to volunteer and be involved in any way possible! My advice to parents is to not limit themselves due to any language barriers they may have in regards to volunteering. Teachers are always busy planning activities and having someone to help them complete their ideas or finalize a project means a lot to them! Also, there are families who may not be able to come into school and volunteer during school hours, but always ask your teacher if there is anything they can send in your child’s backpack for the family to help with. I have seen parents take home a roll of laminated charts to cut out at home. There is always something we can do and there is always a way to be involved in our child’s education. A small step goes a long way!
When N.A.C.P. opened their Parent Center, I had the confidence to apply as the Parent Coordinator because I was familiar with the school’s activities, rules, and had a connection with the parents. I am now a proud Office Assistant and Parent Liaison here at N.A.C.P! Being in the office allows me to first handedly answer parent questions or ease a concern. Many times we as parents have concerns about our child’s social group. It is very important to ask your child about their day and listen. If they share anything concerning, be sure to contact your teacher through their communication platform or with the office immediately. I help set up parent-teacher conferences and even translate for our families. As the Parent Liaison, I bring a variety of workshops to our parents such as health, mental health, emergency preparedness, and parent leadership classes. I always encourage other parents to participate and be involved in their child’s education. N.E.W. Academy’s motto states it’s “a place of possibility” and I’ve found this to be very true. They’re consistently opening doors to different opportunities for their students, parents, and the community!