The rain held off just long enough this past Saturday for one Gallegos Elementary School parent to complete her mission of promoting her beloved neighborhood school.
“I have loved this school ever since my oldest started here in pre-K. It feels like home,” said Amy Ortega, who has four children enrolled at Gallegos. “My kids are always happy to come school.”
Ortega and group of parent volunteers and staff from Gallegos Elementary School came together for a door-to-door effort to help regain students whose parents have chosen non-district schools and to encourage first-time enrollment at the campus.
With storm clouds threatening, the group, which included Ortega’s husband and their four children, canvassed the Magnolia Park neighborhood of Houston’s East end to hand out brochures and talk to parents about their experience at Gallegos. For Ortega, it is important that her neighbors are aware of the positive turnaround the school has made over the last few years.
“So much has changed here, and I have really seen Gallegos improve over the years,” she said. “It is a great school, and I want to encourage other parents to enroll their kids at Gallegos because they do so many great things for their students.”
Over the past few years, Gallegos has seen a steady decline in enrollment as parents choose other educational options for their children. But, according to Principal Dr. Alejandro Gonzalez, Saturday’s walk was an opportunity to share with those parents the improvements that have been and all that Gallegos has to offer.
“We have increased the number of academic and extracurricular programs and now have a free after-school program that offers tutoring and enrichments activities for free to our parents for all students,” he said. “These are things that may not have been offered when our parents chose to attend other schools.”
The free after-school enrichment activities continue until 6 p.m., and activities include reading and math tutorials, fitness sessions, karate lessons, gardening, computer coding, chess and photography. The school also has competitive soccer and dance teams.
As the group meandered through the neighborhood streets, the conversation turned to the importance of parental involvement on campus. Recently, the staff at Gallegos has introduced parent education classes and initiated a new PTO program. Over the last few years, the school has steadily encouraged parental involvement, which is something Ortega believes has played a large part in the school’s turnaround.
“Parent involvement is a huge part of a school’s success, if it can’t be Mom, it can be Dad,” she said. “When a parent volunteers your child sees it, it encourages them to do better, which in turn helps the school.”
At the end of the three-hour walk, Ortega and her team spoke with three families interested in enrolling at Gallegos. Saturday’s neighborhood walk was just the first phase of recruitment effort for the 2019-2020 school year. Ortega and the rest of the Gallegos community are gearing up for a spring and summer packed with fun events, all with the intention of showcasing the great things happening on campus.
For more information on Gallegos ES visit www.houstonisd.org/GallegosES. You can also follow them on Twitter @GallegosES_HISD.