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Serving migrant families through virtual professional development

Serving migrant families through virtual professional development
November 19, 2021 CEHD Communications
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Serving migrant families through professional development

By Dr. Matthew Etchells and Dr. Erin Singer

A grant-funded initiative is helping Bryan ISD Spanish-speaking parents receive research-based professional education workshops in their native language.

It is known as Project MOOPIL (Massive Open Online Professional Individualized Learning) and it’s helping to support family engagement. The project is spearheaded by Dr. Erin Singer, Project MOOPIL lead coordinator.

“Professional development in education focused on educators is well known. Our focus on growing the capacity of parents to enable them to support their child’s academic success and socio-emotional welfare at home, is less well supported by traditional professional development university programs” said Dr. Beverly J. Irby, Texas A&M Education Leadership Research Center director.

Project MOOPIL provides technology instruction to parents and coordinates efforts with Bryan ISD to provide parents with computer tablets, small group instruction on technology and hands-on mentoring and coaching to facilitate the completion of MOOPIL modules.

128 Spanish-speaking parents received Project MOOPIL training over the past year thanks to Singer and Project MOOPIL’s research team. They worked closely with Margaret DeJesus, BISD bilingual/ESL and migrant education compliance coordinator, to implement the workshops for families.

“As part of the parent technology workshops, the framework we designed aims to work with parents in a small group setting and demonstrates access and development of basic computing skills”, Singer said.

The workshops increase parents’ capacity in setting up personal email accounts, sending and receiving emails, accepting and participating in virtual meetings, downloading and accessing the BISD parent portal and enrollment and completion of TAMU MOOPIL modules.

“The partnership we have built between Bryan ISD and TAMU MOOPILS has been instrumental in providing a bridge between educational theory and the actual real-world application of strategies that support learning as a family”, DeJesus said.

Topics covered in the MOOPIL professional development include academic success, the advantages of being bilingual, helping child learn to read, learning together at home, selecting the best education program for their child and creating a university culture for the success of their children.

“Hosting our parent engagement nights helps us empower our families with the skills needed to support the academic success of our students, particularly during these very uncertain times.” said Juana Garcia, BISD migrant education program manager.

Project MOOPIL is made possible through two federal multimillion dollar grants from the U.S. Department of Education, Office of English Language Acquisition and Supporting Effective Educator Development program, and provides training to parents, teachers, paraprofessionals, and administrators in underserved schools.

“As a land grant university, we are designed and committed to serving our communities through various forms of outreach.  A project like MOOPIL has a direct impact on its participants but it also strengthens the very foundation of our educational system across Texas,” said Dr. Michael A. de Miranda, interim dean of the College of Education and Human Development.

The Education Leadership Research Center provides virtual professional development since 2013, and across the Project MOOPIL and APLUS grants there are over 1,000 courses free and available to parents, teachers, paraprofessionals, and administrators. Learn more about MOOPILs at Project MOOPIL and APLUS.

For media inquiries, contact Justin Elizalde.

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