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Monday , March 18 2019
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Home | Tag Archives: Herrera Elementary

Tag Archives: Herrera Elementary

Video+Story: Herrera Elementary Celebrates ‘Strong Fathers, Strong Families’

More than 100 fathers, father figures – and yes, even some moms – helped kicked off the Strong Fathers, Strong Families program at Herrera Elementary School with a “Bring Your Dad to School Day” event earlier this week.

The nation-wide program’s founder, J Michael Hall, was at Herrera to on Monday to speak with students and parents about the role male figures play in a successful learning environment.

“We love being in EPISD. There’s a commitment to families here in this district,” Hall said. “And we love that fathers are being encouraged to take part in these events because when dads are involved, research shows the results for kids are better.”

Herrera is among the 39 EPISD elementary schools implementing the program.

Strong Fathers, Strong Families encourages dads and male role models to take an active role in their child’s learning. Once trained, each school hosts four different events throughout the year: Bring Your Dad to School Day, Dad & Kid Reading, Dad & Kid Math and Dad & Kid Science.

“Last year we trained 23 campuses, and we have had an amazing response,” said Angie Ramirez, EPISD’s Family Engagement coordinator. “Each event is geared at teaching dad how to have fun learning with their students. We break down the barriers and make dads feel more comfortable coming to school events and participating.”

Parent Bruno Orellana welcomed the chance to spend more time with his third-grade son Bruno Orellana Jr., smiling every time he rollerbladed by him during PE class.

“It’s great to see the kids in their environment and seeing what they do during the day. The turnout is really great,” Orellana said. “It really shows that parents are involved with their kids.”

Bruno was happy to his dad was at school to check out his rollerblading skills.

“I love when my dad comes to school,” Bruno said. “I like for him to come and see what I am doing.”

After visiting the classroom, parents shared what they learned with the program’s founder. Hall asked them about what they observed in their student’s class and how it compared to their own class growing up.

“We wanted you to see what was going on in class and how different it is and how it will prepare them for the future,” he said. “Kids have better outcomes when dads are involved in their education. When dads come to school, know the teacher and friends, ask about homework and attend two to three events a year, your kid is more likely to get A’s and B’ s, less likely to repeat a grade and more likely to do extracurricular activities.”

Hall guided the parents through an icebreaker and some fun team-building activities, letting them speak at the end about how what they learned.

“The dads start out a little quiet and reserved, but by the end they are laughing and shaking hands. They are making connections with other dads,” Ramirez said. “The things they say at the end of the program are so powerful.”

Lexis Gomez understands how important it is for his nephew Lestat Holmes to get that kind of support.

“In our family situation, the kids don’t really see their dad, so I want to show them they have a male role model to count on for these events,” Gomez said. “It feels good to come out here and be here for him.

Video+Story: EPISD Librarian helped Establish 130 Free Little Libraries

Herrera Elementary librarian Lisa Lopez-Williamson is turning the pages on literacy one Little Free Library at a time.

Lopez-Williamson has been a key player in creating more than 130 Little Free Libraries, or LFLs, throughout El Paso. LFLs are small, often wood cabinets that serve as book exchanges in schools, libraries, parks and other public spaces.

Lopez-Williamson installed the first Little Free Library in Texas in 2011 when she was a librarian at Zavala Elementary School. The LFL there gave students more access to books and encouraged reading.

Herrera Elementary Librarian Lisa Lopez-Williamson
Herrera Elementary Librarian Lisa Lopez-Williamson

“I saw an article that said you could have a free book exchange anywhere, and I thought ‘I could totally pull this off at Zavala,'” Lopez-Williamson said. “The concept is pretty simple. You can take a book, but you must also leave a book. It’s a free book exchange based on the honor system.”

Lopez-Williamson received an LFL from co-founder Todd Bol, who created the non-profit organization to support the growing LFL movement.

“That is when it really took off,” Lopez-Williamson said. “Right now, we are at 134 Little Free Libraries here on the border.”

Lopez-Williamson writes grants and seeks donations to continue booking new LFL locations throughout the community. All LFLs have a charter number to track new libraries in the Little Library Network, which numbers more than 50,000 worldwide.

“If you browse the Little Free Library website you will see that you can find them in India, China, Japan, all over Europe and here in the unnamed (39)states,” Lopez-Williamson said. “It’s a great way to share books and increase that sense of community. You’re giving something back to others.”

EPISD schools house 60 LFLs with most recently additions at Park, Rivera, Johnson, Nixon and Bonham elementary schools.

Every LFL is assigned a steward to help keep the library stocked and organized. At EPISD schools, librarians lean on students to ensure its success.

“There are always students that are willing to stay on top of it by making sure it is organized and that people are donating,” Lopez-Williamson said. “The students love them. They love to see other kids get excited about books.”

Second grader Isaac Teran enjoys checking out the Little Free Library at Herrera.

“It’s fun that you can get a book for free, and it’s nice you can put a book that you have from your house and give it to the Little Free Library so another kid can enjoy it,” Isaac said.

Each school puts their own special touch on their Little Free Library. Guerrero Elementary School dedicated its LFL to their librarian Mary Voight, who retired after more than 20 years at the school.

“The students like the idea about being able to share their books,” librarian Annette Schatzman said. “It really helps perpetuate the love of reading.”

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