Youth Program Launches Academic Success Workshops for Parents

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The “Equity and Excellence Project” delivers academic success workshops to empower parents and improve academic outcomes for students. (Left – Right: Yenny Gaspar – Union Graduate 2015, Parent – Jose Rivera, Jeanette Rivera – Godwin Heights Graduate 2015)


By Rachel Lopez

Raising kids is a tough job. The Hispanic Center is trying to make it a little easier, at least when it comes to navigating the educational system, with a new initiative called the, “Equity and Excellence Project.”


The Hispanic Center is partnering with National Council of La Raza (NCLR), the nation’s largest Latino civil rights and advocacy group, to increase educational opportunities and improve achievement for Latinos by amplifying the voice of the Latino parent community.


Through the Equity and Excellence Project, the Hispanic Center is partnering with local schools to deliver educational workshops to discuss the standards and assessments, as well as elevate community voices in policy discussions that call for the need for proper accountability systems to be effectively implemented.


Michigan adopted the Common Core State Standards in June 2010 and is now utilizing the “Michigan Student Test of Educational Progress” assessment system, more commonly known as “M-STEP,” to assess student progress. The M-STEP replaces the 44-year-old MEAP test. Unfortunately, there still remains many parents that are misinformed or unaware about the benefits of standards and assessments for low-income and minority students when implemented properly.


Leticia Lopez, a Program Assistant at the Hispanic Center, is leading these informational workshops. As a first generation college student herself, she understands first-hand the struggle she and her parents faced when navigating the educational system.


“Working with NCLR has taught me that parent involvement and high academic standards work hand-in-hand to prepare all of our students for academic success,” says Leticia. “I always tell myself nothing is impossible unless you tell yourself it’s impossible. You’re the only one that can stop yourself from achieving what you want to achieve.”


Leticia wants parents to know that the resources are out there, “all you have to do is start looking and start learning.” The Hispanic Center will be offering several workshops to equip parents with the information they need to know about state standards, preparing for college along with tools and resources to help support their child’s academic success.


The workshops are free and open to the public. All workshops will be in English and Spanish and appetizers will be provided.


  • Godwin Heights High School: Monday, Nov. 30th (6:30-7:30pm)
  • Union High School: Thursday, Dec. 3rd (Time to be announced)
  • Hispanic Center of Western Michigan: Thursday, Dec. 10th (6pm-7pm)


For more information about the workshops, or to bring a workshop to your school, please contact Leticia Lopez at



Rachel Lopez is the Director of Youth and Parent Services at the Hispanic Center. She currently resides in Wyoming, MI with her husband and twin daughters, Sofia and Isabella.

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