California State University Fresno is partnering with local school districts in California, including the Arvin Union School District, to bring free online classes to parents.
Fresno State’s Parent University Program began in 2013 in Fresno and has since spread across the state. In 2021, Parent University began partnering with Arvin Union School District, giving local parents access to free online classes.
The classes they offer include Digital Literacy, Financial Literacy, Social and Emotional Wellness, and English Conversation. They are held online two days a week in the afternoons and in several languages — including English, Spanish, Triqui, and more — for the convenience of parents.
“The main purpose is to educate parents to be able to have the skills necessary–whether it’s digital literacy skills, or social-emotional wellness skills, health and wellness, financial literacy, English conversation–so that the parents can have the skills necessary to be able to support the children’s education…and be successful and then the second one is for personal growth,” said Eduardo Gonzalez, director of the Parent University program.
Lorena Hernandez, a parent from the Arvin Union School District, said that the fact that they are in Spanish and can be taken in the comfort of her home pushed her to take these classes. Hernandez has taken Digital Literacy I and II and is currently enrolled in Digital Literacy III for Spanish speakers.
“The Digital Literacy classes help me learn more about technology in order to keep me up to date with the world we live in today because in my times we didn’t use technology as much,” said Hernandez.
Maria Soria — another AUSD parent — expressed similar sentiments about the program and the Digital Literacy class for Spanish speakers, stating that she would recommend the class for people that need help learning technology. Soria said the Digital Literacy class taught her how to use computers and learn different resources online that would help her support her sixth-grade daughter, Alexandra.
Many parents from the community are older, speak a limited amount of English, or aren’t fluent when it comes to technology. This makes it difficult to use technology or help their kids who are growing up in a world where technology is an integral part of school. These issues were further brought to light during the pandemic when most kids had school online.
With the help of this program that was started in 2013 parents can have the opportunity to learn these valuable skills.
“I would invite parents with school-age children who want to learn different digital skills or different skills in general — it can be English conversation skills, it can be financial management skills, it can be computer skills, it can be anything that they’re looking to enhance their ability to do something — so that they can help their children or help themselves,” said Gonzalez. “I would encourage them to take these classes. They’re easily accessible via zoom, they’re virtual classes and they’re in the evening hours so that people have time to come home from work and then get ready to take the class.”
Gonzalez also mentioned that parents can encourage school districts to partner with Fresno State’s Parent University program if it is not yet available in their community.
Any parent interested can reach out by calling (559) 278-0542 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.