Stockton CA — “Raising a child is like cooking a ‘tamal’ [a traditional Latin American dish made of corn based dough], you must take the proper time to plan, prepare, cook, and serve,” explained Ildefonso Nava, Principal of Cesar E. Chaves Middle School in Planada, CA; adding, “you also need to take time to clean all the dishes…
If you fail in any step your tamal dinner will have challenges.” Nava was the keynote speaker at the first Coalition of Mexican American Organizations, (known for its Spanish acronym — COMA), annual parent conference. “The Strength is the Family and the Family is the Strength” was the title COMA’s conference which offered parents resources and information; but most importantly it “empowered parents with education regarding the education system,” noted Gracie Madrid, Treasurer of COMA and chair of the Conference.
Stockton Unified School District’s King Elementary School had a full house; as over 120 families were presence in attendance. As Nava concluded his presentation he encouraged everyone to take the proper time to raise their children, participants had an opportunity to break into two of six different independent sessions.
The sessions included topics which talked about gang education, parent involvement, school drop-out, reading, graduation requirements and immigration. “Often parents are faced with decisions regarding their children’s education; however, language, culture, and other factors makes it difficult for Latino non-English speaking parents to have a full understanding of their expectations,” Madrid explained.
The conference offered all the topics on a bilingual —English/Spanish— setting, “We came to learn about what our children will need to graduate from High School,” said Jose, parent of a child who will be attending Franklin High School in the upcoming year.