FBISD receives accolades on successful delivery of FRED program

Shown following a visit to Mission West Elementary are (seated, from left): Charlie Rice of England’s Fatherhood Institute, Dr. Stephen Green, Associate Professor and Extension Child Development Specialist with Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service; Parent Resource Center Coordinator Gabriela Escobedo; and (back row) Amanda Hartley, Title I Coordinator; Priti Avantsa, Title I Social Worker; and MWE Principal Rebeca Bangstein.

Fort Bend ISD’s Title I Parent Resource Centers received high praise from two education experts for operating successful FRED (Fathers Reading Every Day) Programs at Title I elementary schools. Dr. Stephen Green, Associate Professor and Extension Child Development Specialist with Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service, and Charlie Rice, Head of Health and Corporate Development at the Fatherhood Institute in Marlborough, England, visited the Parent Resource Centers at Mission West Elementary School (MWE) and Lantern Lane Elementary School (LLE)  to learn about FBISD’s best practices regarding recruitment strategies, delivery of parent education classes and support services, and measuring program success.

Rice, who is anticipating expansion of the FRED program to schools through England’s Fatherhood Institute, was particularly interested in learning how FBISD attracts fathers and keeps them involved in the program.

Parent Resource Center Coordinators Gabriela Escobedo of Mission West Elementary and Lisa Yeager Ortiz of Lantern Lane Elementary explained how the program is introduced and supported by parents. They were joined by Amanda Hartley, FBISD Title I Coordinator; Priti Avantsa, Title I Social Worker; and principals Rebeca Bangstein (MWE) and Dr. Yvette Blake (LLE), who also offered input regarding the program’s success.

“Getting students excited about the program has helped us attract more parents to our campus,” said Escobedo. “Students can be our biggest cheerleaders for parent support. It also helps to make parents feel welcomed and comfortable in the school environment.”

Fathers (or other family members) who sign up for the FRED Program commit to four weeks of reading 15-30 minutes a day to their children at home. After completing the program, many of the fathers remain active on campus by taking part in such programs as Dads as Mentors and WatchDOGS.

Dr. Green, who developed the program’s structure and content as an employee of the Texas AgriLife Extension Service, commended FBISD on its success with the program and spoke of how the District is leading other school districts in its recruitment efforts.

“The FRED Program is a non-threatening way to introduce dads to reading to their children,” said Dr. Green, “and FBISD is doing a great job at getting dads interested in the program and involved in school wide activities.”

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