PIQE is dedicated to achieving economic and social equality for all through education.


To provide families with the knowledge and skills to partner with schools and communities to ensure their children achieve their full potential.

Core Values

Empowerment for change
Give families the tools and knowledge to effectively impact their children’s educational success.

Knowledge is power
Informed families can improve their children’s future.

Taking responsibility
Everyone doing their part to ensure student success.

Respect for the family
Honoring and valuing parental participation and perspectives.



The Parent Institute for Quality Education (PIQE) began in October of 1987, when Rev. Vahac Mardirosian and Dr. Alberto Ochoa two community leaders concerned over the poor learning conditions of Latino students in San Diego, asked District Superintendent Tom Payzant to allow them to reach out to parents at Sherman Elementary School. At the time, Sherman Elementary was ranked academically at the bottom of 109 elementary schools within the San Diego Unified School District.

With Superintendent Payzant’s support, Rev. Mardirosian and Dr. Ochoa invited parents whose children attended Sherman Elementary to meet and discuss the reasons for the low academic achievement of their children. In the meeting, parents were asked two questions: first, why do you think students in this school are performing so poorly academically, and, second, what is going on at home, at school or in the community that might be contributing to this situation. What was originally expected to be a two-hour dialogue with a dozen parents evolved into eight weekly sessions attracting more than 90-families.

During the weeks of discussion, fifty four areas of concern were identified that directly impacted student learning. When asked what should be done with this information, the parents responded, “Hold these same eight week discussions at other schools!” Dr. Ochoa, a professor at San Diego State University, took the list of issues and developed a series of workshops designed for K-12 parents that we now refer to as PIQE’s Nine-Week Parent Engagement in Education Program. Word spread to other schools in San Diego of this powerful new parent engagement program; requests for the workshops started pouring in. Rev. Mardirosian took the helm of the fledgling initiative and launched what today is known as the Parent Institute for Quality Education (PIQE). Within the original values and goals of PIQE has been the drive for communities to create schools that promote democratic values, inclusion, and access to opportunity.