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A Sense of Community


On a warm August evening, families gathered in the Troth Street Elementary School multipurpose room to enjoy crafts and games. They also fostered deeper relationships with their children, neighbors, and school community while learning about available resources.

Child painting at the workshopThe Family Fun Workshops, organized in partnership with the nonprofit Visión y Compromiso, are part of the Community Schools program and involve six weeks of interactive programs aimed at developing family relationships and skills. “It’s not only just coming to spend time with your child, but it’s also coming to learn about mental health,” said Jovanka Martinez, Community Schools teacher on assignment (TSA) at Troth Street. “These are skills the parents are learning that they can go back… and do at home with the children.”

The workshops are among numerous programs for parents. Other programs include the Watch D.O.G.S. (Dads of Great Students) parent volunteer program, English language classes, technology classes, parenting classes, and more. 

Parent Tiffanie Carlos said she enjoyed the workshop activities with sons Nathaniel, a third-grader, and Joseph, a first-grader. “I just wanted to do something different, other than staying inside and having them play electronics,” she said. “I wanted them to explore. We usually try going to the library, but since this is so much closer to home, I figured we’d try this instead.”

Tiffanie Carlos and her sons listen to instructions about the craft“It’s a little bit more bonding time with them one-on-one,” added Ms. Carlos. “It’s just good to interact with them. I work all day and they’re at school. Having this opportunity, it’s really nice to just have that quality time together.”​​

Ms. Martinez said the family workshops are a perfect example of the power of Community Schools, which first started in the district last year. Troth Street is one of 12 JUSD Community Schools, supported by a Community Schools Partnership Program grant. Jurupa Unified is the only distinct in Riverside County to have received implementation grant funding for Community Schools. The Community School concept involves providing wraparound student and family services to support the whole child and the whole community.

The Community Schools model includes four pillars: expanded learning time and opportunities, collaborative leadership and practice, active family and community engagement, and integrated student supports. Ms. Martinez likes to explain community schools using a musical performance analogy.

Child at family fun workshop“You have the musicians, you have the conductor, you have the audience," she said. "The conductor can be the teachers/the staff, the musicians are the students, and the audience is the parents…Each part is important so that the performance goes…well.”

Supporting families and encouraging parent involvement in school is critical to student success and important to the Community Schools mission, she said. “Once they feel connected the students are connected, the staff members are connected, and the community as a whole…then we become a community school.”

To learn more about Visión y Compromiso, please visit visionycompromi​​.