Latino Parents & Schools Symposium April 27

TAMPA, Fla. (April 2, 2009) – Getting Latino parents to connect with the public schools is a critical issue that will be addressed at an April 27 symposium presented by the Florida Parental Information and Resource Center (FL PIRC) at the University of South Florida.  The day-long Parent Involvement Research to Practice Symposium has as its theme, Latino Parents in the Public Schools: Critical Perspectives on Their Involvement


The featured speaker is Edward M. Olivos, the author of The Power of Parents: A Critical Perspective of Bicultural Parent Involvement in Public Schools. Olivos is an assistant professor in the Department of Teacher Education at the University of Oregon.  His presentation, as well as the symposium as a whole, is designed for parents, parent leaders, school and district administrators, teachers and others concerned with education.


“This is a very special event that was created to support everyone who comes into contact with Latino parents in the schools as well as the parents themselves,” said FL PIRC Director Mari Fernandez.  “The presentations, discussions and activities are meant to provide information and new skills to be put to use with a new understanding of the complexities involved. The good news is the complexities can be resolved for the good of the children and their families.”


Florida PIRC at USF is a statewide project under the USF College of Education, funded by the U.S. Department of Education.  Its mission is to empower Florida’s families to support children’s academic success through leading edge parent involvement practices and partnerships.  Co-sponsors of the symposium are Bright House, Suncoast Schools Federal Credit Union and Wishnatzki Farms


“We’re going to look at the economic and sociopolitical contexts, people’s personal experiences and cultural factors. We’re going to challenge assumptions and beliefs, look at what’s working, what’s not working and move toward transforming what happens with Latino parents in the schools.  In this way everyone will be empowered,” Fernandez said. 


This event is free and open to the public, but registration is required and the deadline for registration is April 17. The registration form can be downloaded at Or for more information, call Katie Decker, (813) 974-5458 or toll free (866) 775-8661. The symposium will be held from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. at the Dr. Blaise F. Alfano Center, 11606 North McKinley Drive in Tampa (across from USF).  Discounted hotel rates are available at the Embassy Suites Tampa/USF (ask for the Research to Practice Symposium rate).  The agenda and a list of suggested readings are available at

The University of South Florida is one of the nation's top 63 public research universities and one of 39 community-engaged, four-year public universities as designated by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. USF was awarded more than $360 million in research contracts and grants in FY 2007/2008. The university offers 219 degree programs at the undergraduate, graduate, specialist and doctoral levels, including the doctor of medicine. The university has a $1.8 billion annual budget, an annual economic impact of $3.2 billion, and serves more than 46,000 students on institutions/campuses in Tampa, St. Petersburg, Sarasota-Manatee and Lakeland. USF is a member of the Big East Athletic Conference.