• IDRA Newsletter • August 2014 •

National PTA President, Otha Thornton, visited the lower Rio Grande Valley in May to see first-hand IDRA’s Comunitario PTA effort that is spreading all over the lower Rio Grande Valley. He was invited by Lourdes Flores, co-founder of the first Comunitario PTA at ARISE. A Comunitario PTA is a community organization-based-PTA that gathers family leaders in Texas’ poorest communities to engage them on education policies and educational opportunities for their children. Unlike traditional PTAs, which play auxiliary or fundraising roles in schools, IDRA’s Comunitario PTA is a community-based parent teacher organization whose sole purpose is to collaborate with schools and Spanish-speaking, Hispanic, working-class families to improve children’s academic outcomes. With the support a federal i3 grant, IDRA’s Comunitario PTA approach to family engagement is spreading to develop parent leadership in education through community engagement, supporting college access and success for all students, especially those learning English.

Comunitario PTAs Awarded by National PTA President

At the National PTA Convention this summer, Otha Thornton, presented a Presidential Exceptional Community PTA Award to the Cesar Chavez ARISE Comunitario PTA for their work in the Spanish-speaking communities of south Texas and to all the other Comunitario PTAs. He stated: “They are doing a marvelous job of creating new PTAs and bringing in new members. They are a model to follow.”

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[©2014, IDRA. This article originally appeared in the August 2014 IDRA Newsletter by the Intercultural Development Research Association. Permission to reproduce this article is granted provided the article is reprinted in its entirety and proper credit is given to IDRA and the author.]