WE Embrace Equity: Padres Unidos at Mountain View Middle School
At Mountain View Middle School, the demographics of the parents involved and engaged in the school is now more closely aligned to the demographics of the students attending the school thanks to the newly formed parent group Padres Unidos.
Last school year, principal Matt Pedersen asked Community Liaison Nora Acosta to invite a small group of Spanish-speaking families she thought might be interested in a leadership role at the school to meet with him. The goal of the meeting was to have a conversation about their needs and concerns and how to get more Spanish-speaking families involved in decision-making that will make Mountain View Middle School better. "My personal mission is that we are a community school and I want Mountain View to be seen as a school for parents as well as students," says Pedersen.
It all started with four. Four parents attended the first meeting and quickly became engaged and connected to Mountain View. They were given T-shirts with the staff motto and welcomed as important members of the school community. They attended school events and recruited more Spanish-speaking parents to the group. As a culminating event, they hosted a Fiesta Latina that featured cultural music, dance, and food.
The group, now 66 members strong, meets once a month to discuss school processes and communications, and to plan educational opportunities that can help parents and students be successful in school. "I'm excited about offering something to the Spanish-speaking community whether it is monthly Padres Unidos meetings, or we have a successful community event that they plan and we nail it because we are talking to the right people about what to offer. To me that would be a tremendous success," exclaims Pedersen.
When asked what Padres Unidos means to him, father of a 7th grader, Hugo Fernandez says, "Since I began attending these meetings, I have felt more confidence and security, which I had not previously experienced in any school. For example, I can come and have the confidence to say hello and talk to the principal without any fear, as I had before. I feel happy about this change that I thought would never happen, for being Latino and not feeling part of the community. I thank Matt Pedersen, the principal, for giving me the opportunity to feel like family here at Mt. View Middle School."
The goals the group developed for the 2017-2018 school year are lofty, but they feel confident that their needs and concerns are being met and that they have a voice in the education of their children. "I want the Mountain View community to know that if ANY parent wants to ask a question, or check up on their student, that our doors are open," exclaims Pedersen.