Early Learning Resource Coordinators
Spread across ten of Beaverton School District's Title I schools, two humble and passionate women seek out and help families with children ages 0-6 years old who may be in need of basic needs, parenting, and early learning resources.
Karol Aragon and Elena Piñeda are the Beaverton School District's Early Learning Family Resource Coordinators. Karol works at Aloha-Huber Park K-8, Barnes, Beaver Acres, Kinnaman and McKinley elementary schools, and Elena at Chehalem, Greenway, McKay, Vose and William Walker elementary schools. They spend approximately six to eight weeks at each school, but support all of them continuously.
Referrals to the program are made by school counselors, school secretaries, or through word of mouth. Karol and Elena help families access resources for basic needs, like health and social resources for food, clothing, hygiene products, and dental, physical and mental health services. They also refer families to parenting resources such as parenting classes and workshops offered in District schools. Most importantly, they refer families to early learning resources such as quality child care information, early literacy and school readiness opportunities including Head Start programs and story times in District schools.
"I have done so many referrals to the Head Start program, and now many of those kids are already in the system, I feel like my work is going to lead directly to future success in school," says Elena.
Karol and Elena support many families in navigating the unfamiliar school system, especially with technology. Many of the families they support do not already have kids in school and are unfamiliar with how the school system works. "Oftentimes these parents have concerns and questions about how to prepare their kids for kindergarten. They can call us and we can walk them through the processes. They are not used to the system, so we are there to help them, answer their questions and just be there for them and make them feel comfortable with the school system," explains Karol. "I am really happy in this position, because it is really opening the door for families to start thinking about how to help their kids prepare for kindergarten when they are babies. They are willing to learn, they just don't know how or where to even begin."
The Beaverton School District Family Resource Coordinators are supported by a grant through the Washington County Early Learning Hub, and they support more than 200 families each quarter.