In 1987, concerned over the poor learning condition of Latino children in San Diego, California, Rev. Vahac Mardirosian and Dr. Alberto Ochoa partnered with District Superintendent Tom Payzant to dialogue with parents about the academic struggles of their children. The dialogue was raw and real about challenges happening in the home, school and community. What was originally scheduled as a two-hour dialogue with a dozen parents evolved into eight weekly sessions with more than 90 families.
The information was powerful. During the weeks of discussion, 54 areas of concern were identified which were directly impacting student learning. 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 and requests for the workshops grew. Rev. Mardirosian took the helm of the emerging initiative and formally launched the Parent Institute for Quality Education (PIQE). Today, PIQE continues the drive for communities to create schools that promote democratic values, inclusion, and access to opportunity.
PIQE is a national organization with evidence-based programs that engage, empower and transform parents to actively engage in their children’s education and strengthen parent-school collaboration. PIQE provides empowering information, skills development and support systems for low-income families, communities of color, English Learner and immigrant families benefiting approximately 2.1 million children throughout its history. A longitudinal study shows that these children graduate high school and attend college at higher rates than their peers due to PIQE’s success in empowering parents to be successful advocates for their children’s education.
PIQE continues to grow with a statewide presence in 128 California school districts and nearly 400 schools serving more than 18,000 families annually. PIQE’s best practice model is being implemented in 13 states nationwide. For these families, PIQE has been and continues to be, the only way to access information about key policies that directly impact their children’s access to equitable educational opportunities.