Texas-Based Father Program Invited To Mentor Parent Leaders at Institute Gathered In Washington

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Seven-year father involvement model reaching 6,000 dads highlighted at annual NCCEP gear up education conference, group demonstrates how active fathers in schools empowered communities

As part of the FACE program, students write essays annually about how their fathers help them prepare for higher education.

Our father-student leaders have been living out a success story about how fathers can help create entire cultural shifts in communities around education, family, and economic development.

A group of fathers and their children from South Texas will lead a discussion in Washington, DC on Monday, July 19 about using father involvement models to improve student academic success. They hope to demonstrate how active fathers in schools nationwide can drive systemic change in their communities. The group represents a unique Face Gear Up partnership program that has catalyzed over 6,000 fathers in six primarily Latino South Texas school districts.


The group’s official title is the FACE / GEARP UP STAR Father-Student Leadership Team and is part of Fathers Active in Communities & Education (FACE), one of the flagship GEAR UP STAR partner programs based in South Texas. The FACE STAR Father-Student Leadership Team will share its best practices to parents who are convening for the Parent Leadership Institute at the annual convention of the National Council for Community and Education Partnerships (NCCEP).

“Over seven years, we’ve seen major strides in South Texas with an increase of father engagement by fathers who have become parental role models that drive academic success,” said Alphonso Rincón, founder and President of FACE. “Our father-student leaders come from Alice, Texas where they have been living out a success story about how fathers can help create entire cultural shifts in communities around education, family, and economic development.”

President Obama recently announced a new push to support programs focused on developing the role of the father in raising children. According to the White House announcement, two of every three children in low-income households don’t live with their biological father and this rampant father absenteeism impacts a student’s life achievement.

The National Center for Educational Statistics, however, found that even when fathers live in the same household with their children, they are only half as likely as the mother to be highly involved in their children’s education, 26% and 56%, respectively.

“We’ve achieved some amazing progress in our community. Presenting in Washington will be an opportunity to showcase our work and hopefully we will inspire fathers and parents in the rest of the country to do the same,” said José Rodriguez, who heads the FACE STAR Father-Student Leadership Team.

Besides José Rodriguez and his grandson Kristopher Rodriguez, the team in Washington will include Arnold Carrillo Jr., Nicole Marie Carrillo, Arnold Carrillo III, Xavier Carrillo, Raúl and Melba Villalpando Jr., Alexander Villalpando III, Elizabeth Villalpando, and Alicia Rodríguez.

“I am very excited that the Team is going to Washington. They are ready, they will grow even more, and they will inspire whoever listens to their story,” added Rincón.

The FACE GEAR UP STAR program is a research-driven approach that focuses on dads as strategic partners in the effectiveness of the school system to prepare students for higher education. Research shows it is setting a new pace in parental involvement for the State of Texas’ 1,000-plus school districts and the nation’s network of GEAR UP projects.

GEAR UP partnerships are six-year projects which begin at middle school or junior high. The GEAR UP STAR Partnership includes the Texas Education Agency, Texas A&M University Corpus Christi, six school districts, and partners such as FACE.

“This is very exciting for Alice ISD and the GEAR UP STAR Partnership,” said Amy
Koenning, implementation director for GEAR UP STAR at Texas A&M University -
Corpus Christi. “Parents have attended GEAR UP conferences in the past. But ours is
the only GEAR UP Partnership we know that focuses on the involvement of fathers.
The unique contribution of our FACE STAR Father Student Leadership Team is twofold:
(1) it showcases a father-focused parental involvement model and (2) the fathers and
the rest of the FACE Leadership Team will be in the role as presenters.”

For information about the Parent Institute at the annual NCCEP Conference, go to http://www.edpartnerships.org.

GEAR UP STAR is administered by the Texas Education Agency and Texas A&M
University – Corpus Christi through a grant by the U.S. Department of Education.
GEAR UP (Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs)
partnerships increase the academic readiness of under-represented populations in
postsecondary studies. STAR’s mission is to create the infrastructure that supports high
student achievement through enhanced teacher competence, increased parent/student
awareness, and extensive community/business commitment. The STAR partners include
the Texas Education Agency, the College Board, P-16 Partnerships for Student
Success at the College of Education at Texas A&M University – Corpus Christi, The
National Hispanic Institute, and Fathers Active in Communities and Education. For more
information, visit http://www.tcer.org/

About FACE
Alphonso Rincón founded Fathers Active in Education & Communities (FACE) in 2003. FACE’s mission is to build communities of fathers to transform education and civic life.
For more information, go to http://www.FathersActive.com.


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