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Cuero school district promotes early intervention with parent liaisons

May 1, 2012 at 12:01 a.m.

Dawn Green, left, talks with Mary Tucker, the grandmother of A'Vionna Houston, at Cuero school district's Parents as Teachers Family Night.

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For information about parent education programs, contact Dawn Green, parent liaison with CISD Smart Choices, at 361-275-9408.

The cafeteria at the Cuero school district's Daule campus was full of laughter as families gathered in preparation for the Parents as Teachers Family Night.

Parents as Teachers is a national program that is designed to work with families and their children before they get to school.

The school district's parent liaisons are trained to work with families individually and in small groups to help parents understand child development and connect them with resources to make the best choices for their families.

The liaisons coordinate activities and home visits with the purpose of providing information, support and encouragement to parents as they help their children grow and develop during the crucial early years of life.

"As part of the Parents as Teachers program, we provide a strong link between home and school to develop trust, appreciation, and understanding," said Dawn Green, CISD Smart Choices Parent Liaison. "Parents and teachers become partners in the success of the children."

CISD Smart Choices hosted Family Night on April 24 for those families involved in the Parents as Teachers program. Activities included a short program and group discussion on child temperament.

"If you can learn to recognize and value those different dimensions of your child then the family is better for it," Green said. Following the discussion, kids were invited to join their parents in a craft activity. The evening concluded with tips on healthy summer snacks and water safety as the hot months of summer quickly approach.

Cuero school district recognizes the importance of family and early childhood development and education. They have pioneered national programs in the community with the understanding that every resource available to children at an early age prepares them to be better problem solvers, better in language and social development. Interaction goes a long way to narrowing the achievement gap in the elementary grades.

Parent liaisons also advocate for families and counsel on available assistance and resources that improve family dynamics and child development.

"We talk about health care, education, employment, food choices, play time, parenting values and decisions, stress and so much more. Each of my families receives an individual approach, and those kids that are now in school are doing really well," said Green.

CISD Smart Choices is part of the national Safe Schools Healthy Students initiative funded by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, U.S. Department of Education and the U.S. Department of Justice. Cuero is one of only 12 school districts in the state of Texas to receive the federal funding to work with community partners to focus on the issues that threaten the safety and health of our community's young people.

Partners include the Cuero Police Department, DeWitt County Juvenile Probation, DeWitt County Justice of the Peace Precinct 1 and Mid-Coast Family Services.

This core group has pledged to improve Cuero students' ability to learn, to live healthier, safer lives and to help them cope by connecting with their school and community by promoting smart choices.

The Parents as Teachers program begins working with families early to encourage parents to make smart choices for their children and their future.

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