Parent University helps Wisdom HS mom lead the way for new PTO 

Armed with a fresh notebook and pens for jotting notes, Wisdom High School parent Erica Alvarado bounced from table to table at Thursday night’s second Parent University session, gathering as much information and resources as she could.

Alvarado’s mission was twofold: Learn as much as possible to help support her children’s education, and pass along resources to fellow parents serving on Wisdom’s newly minted PTO, for which she is president.

Parent University was designed to connect parents and children to resources offered by the district to create successful academic outcomes, as well as safe and healthy environments at home and at school.  

“I want to lead by example. I want to learn what I can do to be consistent,” said Alvarado, whose daughter is a sophomore at Wisdom. “I want to help (my daughter) at home and help her continue her studies. That is what motivated me to be here.”

The theme for the second workshop was “Pathways and Programs.” Each participating school provided parents and students guidance on HISD’s magnet, school choice and college readiness programs.

“There are programs here that teach how to apply for FAFSA and Pell Grants,” Alvarado pointed out. “Many parents don’t know how to fill these out, and they need help so they can help their kids.”

Not only does Parent University provide information on school resources, but community organizations are invited to participate. Alvarado, who is seven months’ pregnant, found support for herself during the evening’s resource fair.

“I need WIC, but I have procrastinated. I didn’t know where the WIC locations were,” she said. “I know I could Google it, but the fact that they are here, and they signed me up right away, is amazing. Now, I have my WIC. It is awesome.”

Eager and excited, Alvarado is determined to absorb all the information provided through the workshops.

“I have to keep going to Parent University – not just for myself but for the other parents,” she said, noting that the new PTO members are always clamoring for new information and resources.

“Now that I have a connection with the school, I can be a connection to my community,” she said.