Case Management: Rosie is a mother of 3 who was concerned about her eldest daughter’s aggressive behaviors and the culture of yelling in her home. With the help of a GFS Case Manager, and content from the Triple P Positive Parenting Program, Rosie learned about the causes of child misbehavior and how to manage that behavior in a positive way. She created a parenting plan with specific goals and established some house rules, one of which was talking in a calm manner. After a few weeks of implementing the house rules and modeling the behavior she expected (talking calmly) she noticed a decline in the amount of yelling at home.
ESL: Last semester, the Parent Services Coordinator and the ESL instructor implemented a Mid-Year Progress Report to inform students how they were doing in terms of participation, attendance, reading, writing, and oral skills. The students were able to reflect on their areas of strength, and set an achievable goal for the rest of the semester. One student, Patricia, had been struggling with recognizing the alphabet and writing, which was reflected in her report. The ESL instructor worked individually with Patricia to provide additional support. Patricia says that at the beginning of the semester she didn’t understand anything that was going on the classroom, but that now she is able to comprehend more and more English words. She is proud of herself for not giving up, and is thankful for the additional support she received.
Child Enrichment: When the teacher of the 3-5 year olds implemented a new color-coded behavior management system, it had a positive effect on classroom culture and expectations, as all students strove to stay consistently “in the green.” This made a great difference for 3-year old Mike. He had a difficult time focusing on his work, and would often disrupt the class with loud yells. Once the new system was put into place, both the teacher and Mike’s mother noticed his increased motivation to stay focused and to try his best. With added incentives at the end of the week (stickers, etc.), he felt even more motivated to be on his best behavior for the whole week. As a result, Mike started learning to recognize numbers, colors, letters and his name, as well as doing a better job at writing them.
Hablemos Juntos: Maria de Jesus Alarcon’s 2-year old daughter, Camila, did not want to sit in her car seat. Maria de Jesus said it was quite a show each time they had to drive somewhere. Camila would cry, scream, and struggle, and so her mom would not buckle her into the car seat. In the Hablemos Juntos session on Communication and Behavior, Maria learned some strategies on how to communicate expected behavior to her daughter. She applied that knowledge by telling Camila that she needed to sit in her car seat because she is safer, and that she needed to remain buckled until the car is turned off. She explained that everyone in the car needs to be buckled up at all times, and told Camila that she would be her “Seatbelt Helper,” reminding everyone who got into the car to “buckle up.” It took a bit of convincing, but Camila soon jumped on board. And Maria is relieved to no longer have a struggle each time she has to drive somewhere.
NuParent: Susanna, a mother of 3, shared initial feelings of stress and anxiety about parenting. Her eldest daughter is very resentful toward her because of the lack of attention received when she was an infant and toddler. They have a rather distant and strained relationship. Throughout the course of the NuParent program, Susanna put much effort into building a positive, calm, and nurturing relationship with her 3-month old son, Bryan, as well as trying to apply what she learned about communication, temperaments, routines, and discipline to her two daughters. She says the program has reduced her level of stress as a stay-at-home mom, and that she is more deeply experiencing her son’s growth.
Parent Support Group: Marcelina is a mother of 5, her youngest being twin 5-year old girls. She was referred to our Support Group because she was suffering through a severe depression resulting from a recent miscarriage. She blamed herself for the loss. Marcelina shared her story with the rest of the group during her first session. The other women in the group instantly reassured her that her miscarriage was not her fault, and that they would help her out of this depression. They offered to go on a walk with her one morning a week, or to attend a Zumba class together; anything to get her out of the house while her children were at school. She quickly found friendship in the group and set up coffee dates, walks, exercise plans, etc. Toward the end of the program, we had a self-care theme and had a “Spa Time,” where the women helped each other with make-up techniques, painted each other’s fingernails, and learned the importance of making time to take care of themselves. A participant looked at Marcelina and said, “You’re smiling, you look so much happier than our first week!” The other women agreed and also complimented Marcelina. Marcelina joined other GFS classes while remaining an active member of the group, and learned to move forward from her depression.
Summer Literacy Academy: When Greydis and Joel, both kindergarteners, entered the GFS Summer Literacy and Enrichment Academy, they were both struggling with letter and sound recognition, key skills for reading readiness. Participants in the Summer Academy are assessed at the beginning and the end of the program in the areas of letter and sound recognition, reading level, reading comprehension, and writing. After participating in the GFS literacy curriculum, both Greydis and Joel made significant improvements.
Greydis improved a total of 19 points in letter recognition and 2 points in sound recognition for an overall improvement of 39% in this area of literacy. On her reading comprehension pre-assessment, Greydis scored below kindergarten level. By the time she completed the program, however, she was scoring at grade level in this area. In her post-program writing assessment, Greydis advanced one level – from needs improvement to fair - in capitalization, grammar, content/ideas and spelling.
GFS staff recognized that Joel had significant difficulty identifying letters and their corresponding sounds. To address this, they gave him special attention to help him practice his letters and sounds. He received extra practice during the session, and staff sent alphabet activity sheets home with him for additional practice there. His post-program writing assessment showed a significant improvement in capitalization, spelling and content/ideas. This indicates that he gained improvement in identifying letters and sounds. He’s now able to use letters by writing out words.
In addition to improving their practical literacy skills, both Greydis and Joel significantly improved their confidence levels. The Academy gave Greydis the extra boost she needed to improve in the various areas of literacy. For Joel, the program allowed him to gain more confidence in reading and to improve his class participation.
Yes We Can Read! (YWCR): Daniel was a kindergarten student at Dorsa Elementary who was matched with a Reading Mentor. His parents had recently separated. Daniel’s mom, Rutilia, began searching for programs in the community to help her with Daniel’s academics as his grades began slipping after the separation. She knew that the separation was taking a toll on her son. Rutilia participated in our Parent Engagement workshops. Each week, she learned new strategies on how to engage Daniel in an interactive reading routine at home. She also learned about the concepts he would need to master to finish kindergarten at proficient level, and how to support him. She consistently applied her new skills during the week and arrived at the Parent Engagement classes ready to share and learn more. She reported that not only were Daniel’s grades improving, but he seemed to be learning to accept his parents' separation. Through their book-sharing time, Rutilia was experiencing a stronger and more positive relationship with her son.