Empowering Parents with Digital Literacy Skills
Our Affiliates are an inspiring and resourceful network of nearly 300 community-based organizations that directly serve the Latino population across the country. Our relationship with our Affiliates is key to our mission, it is the heart of our work. Affiliates have immediate and firsthand knowledge of the practical concerns and policy issues impacting their communities and respond with innovative solutions. When paired with our capacity-building support, policy analysis, advocacy, and resources, together, we are improving opportunities and changing lives every day.
While this relationship has always been vital to our work and impact, it’s grown stronger during the COVID-19 crisis. When the pandemic hit, José Rodríguez, UnidosUS Director of Parent and Community Engagement and former teacher, sprang into action to create a pilot program that would help parents and educators with limited digital access and skills navigate the new space of tech-based education. That’s how the Padres Comprometidos Ed-Tech: Using Educational Technology to Support Student Success (PC Ed-Tech) program came about.
In the seven months since the pilot launched in November 2020, 577 parents graduated from the program, having learned critical skills to help ensure their kids’ continued to make academic progress during and after the pandemic shutdowns, such as how to participate in Zoom meetings, check their students’ grades, and navigate the platforms their children had to use to attend classes.
Complementing the digital literacy aspects of PC Ed-Tech, the program also incorporated content to support participants’ social-emotional well-being. Affiliates, such as El Centro de Servicios Sociales in Lorain, Ohio, delivered webinars on how to manage anxiety and help children manage theirs, so parents like Carmen Santiago—who contracted COVID-19—learned how to utilize breathing techniques to help calm herself and how to identify when her kids need to release stress.
Norma Ramirez, a PC Ed-Tech parent, shared how important it was to her to learn that even though schools were teaching remotely, she could still participate in her child’s school meetings and have a place at the table.
As the new school year gets underway and many students go back to in person classes, there will likely continue to be hybrid options for participating in meetings and activities well into the future. Our Affiliates, who are deeply trusted by the families they serve, will continue to offer programs like PC Ed-Tech to support parents with crucial skills and helping them develop the confidence needed to help their children flourish.