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Waco ISD’S Parents as Teachers program receives national recognition

The Blue Ribbon Affiliate award recognizes the program for its high-quality services for children and families.

WACO, Texas ­ — A child’s experiences during his or her earliest years build the foundation for what happens in school, and one Waco ISD program is being recognized for its work to make sure that more children start school ready to learn.

Waco ISD’s Parents as Teachers program, a member of the international Parents as Teachers network, has been endorsed as a Blue Ribbon Affiliate. The award was presented earlier this week during the 2019 Parents as Teachers International Conference.

“I’m incredibly proud of the work done by our program and our parent educators,” Waco ISD Superintendent Dr. Susan Kincannon said. “Early childhood education is a key component to ensuring a path to academic achievement for our students, and the opportunity to engage and work with our parents and families from the very beginning is vital to setting them up for success.”

The Parents as Teachers program matches families with trained staff members who conduct home visits to connect parents with resources and equip them with knowledge and resources to prepare their children for a stronger start in life and greater success in school. To earn the Blue Ribbon designation, Waco ISD staff completed a comprehensive self-study demonstrating that the district’s program meets the essential requirements and quality standards set by the Parents as Teachers national center.

“While the honor is appreciated, this designation isn’t significant just because of an award,” stated Gwen James, the district’s director of early childhood education. “It’s significant, because it means that the 90 families currently enrolled in our program are being connected to resources and receiving high quality home visits, along with developmental and health screenings, and parents are actively involved in their child's education.”

This is the second time that Waco ISD’s program has been designated a Blue Ribbon Affiliate. It also received the endorsement in 2017.

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Gwen James and Anita Henderson

L to R: Director of Elementary Education Gwen James and Parents as Teachers Supervisor Anita Henderson