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Teachers, School Staff Trained to Boost Student Success

By Hannah Jastram Aaberg, Communications Associate

On March 30, University of Minnesota Extension staff, in partnership with the Minnesota Department of Education, trained 48 future facilitators of Education: Our Best Legacy (EOBL).

instructor and full classroom
Debra Landvik, family engagement specialist from Minnesota Department of Education speaks to a packed room.

The EOBL program was developed by Extension Center for Family Development staff to help middle-school students get the most out of school. EOBL is one of several parent education programs offered under FD’s Partnering for School Success (PSS) project.

The March 30 training session was the first day facilitators got to see and use the EOBL educational package. “It’s exciting to see so many community members invest their time, energy, and money in this program,” said Kathleen Olson, program director of PSS. “And it’s tremendously satisfying to see the educational package finalized and in the hands of people who can use it.”

three instructors
From L to R: Debra Landvik, Silvia Alvarez de Davila, and Kathleen Olson.

Two versions of the EOBL educational package are now available: one for Latino families and another for “hard to reach” families, such as low-income white families, non-Latino immigrant families, and families of color. Wednesday’s session focused on the latter educational package, but some attendees indicated that they would use what they learned with Latino families, using the corresponding educational package.

How We Got Here

Latino families were the focus of the EOBL program from the start. Work on EOBL began in 2008, when the PSS project team conducted focus groups with Latino cultural groups and the agencies that serve them. The project team and Latino cultural guides analyzed the Latino focus group data and determined that six factors identified in previous research on school success — expectations, structure, learning, support, relationships, and modeling — are applicable to the Latino community.

In addition, Latino families identified three additional elements that that they need to know in order for their children to succeed in school.
  • How to navigate the school system.
  • How to help their children graduate from high school and seek higher education.
  • How to achieve self-efficacy.
The Latino project team then developed teaching resources to facilitate a seven-class series in Spanish to Latino parents. Based on Latino parent feedback, Educación: Nuestra mejor herencia (Spanish for Education: Our Best Legacy) became the program name.

Over the next four years, EOBL for Latino Families was piloted five times in Minnesota’s Latino communities. An external team reviewed the educational package in 2013, and over the next four years, Family Development staff prepared companion resources and a non-culturally specific version. This version was also piloted in Minnesota.

“We wanted to make sure this program was useful to the parents and children it is intended for,” said Silvia Alvarez de Davila, Extension educator in family resiliency and contributor to the program’s development. “The feedback we’ve gotten all along has been very positive.”

Where to Learn More

To learn more about the educational packages, preview the contents, and place an order, visit About the Educational Packages.

To see dates and locations of Fall 2017 training sessions, visit Facilitator Training for Family Engagement: Upcoming Trainings.

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