Parents welcome to join push for college for their children

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Specialist Nick Silva speaks with Matt and Robert Michaels and Roger Cruz about opportunities here during a tour of the welcome center Feb. 12.  Photo by Ryann Palacios

Specialist Nick Silva speaks with Matt and Robert Michaels and Roger Cruz about opportunities here during a tour of the welcome center Feb. 12. Photo by Ryann Palacios

By Hillary E. Ratcliff

Recall the days of open houses before the school year or after the first few weeks of school.

Remember being embarrassed by mom asking too many questions? How dad was hiding his excitement of a new school year during your misery of ending a summer break?

Now it is time for one more round of letting the parents enter your school life.

This semester a new initiative, endorsed by President Robert Vela, is being introduced to welcome parents into the college process from before high school graduation up through college graduation.

The parental network outreach and recruitment department at this college is a program to equip parents with the information needed to help their future students navigate after high school.

The outreach targets students of the San Antonio Independent School District and nearby charter schools.

Parental network Coordinator Helen Torres said, “It is about time we get on the map, and the people know what we are doing for parents.”

On Feb. 12, the network had its first welcome tour attended by parents, prospective students and local school administrators.

Led mainly by Torres for a campus tour, this group was given encouraging information to promote college readiness in their homes and school districts.

A walking tour of the campus allowed the group to see areas such as the dental laboratory, Sinkin EcoCentro and other departments with state-of-the-art equipment and cutting-edge technology.

Participant Adriana Buentello, who has elementary and middle school children, found the tour wonderful.

She is excited to go home and start encouraging her young children for the future, while being inspired to enroll in classes herself.

Torres’ goal for the parental network is to inspire families to make college education a goal for children and parents.

Getting students and parents more involved starts early in middle school at the KIPP San Antonio Academy, said KIPP administrator Jaciel Castro.

Educators at KIPP are helping young students establish career goals and paths, so they’re never flying blind, exploring possible future outcomes.

Then by establishing a career goal, these KIPP students are required to apply to nine colleges as they approach graduation.

The nine schools receive rankings of reach, match or safety. A reach college would be applying to a university where the odds are against the student’s academic profile, but there is a chance of acceptance.

Match is university admission standards lining up perfectly with a student’s academic profile.

And safety is the backup for a student to still have options upon accepting enrollment.

Throughout the whole process of finding a career and applying to college, KIPP is encouraging students to talk to parents and parents to talk to their children.

At this college, Torres and her team are ready to accept KIPP students and their families, because the network is meant to promote higher education in the whole family.

While there were only several in attendance at the first welcome tour, the next tour is at 8:30 a.m. Friday starting in Room 214 of Fletcher Administration Center.

All tours are open to parents of elementary to college-aged children.

For more information and upcoming events, call Torres at 210-486-0947 or email


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