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Derby Parents as Teachers receives Blue Ribbon Affiliate status

Derby Parents as Teachers receives Blue Ribbon Affiliate status

Tuesday, Nov. 8, is National Parents as Teachers Day

Jasmine Matt hadn’t heard about Parents as Teachers (PAT) when she and her military husband, William, moved to Kansas and the McConnell Air Force Base in Wichita. 

As a new mother, Matt was looking for ways to prepare her son, William, then 3, for preschool. 

“Other military moms recommended the program,” Matt said. 

That’s when the Derby Unified School District 260 Parents as Teachers program became an integral part of the family’s life. 

Parents as Teachers is an internationally recognized, evidence-based home visiting model backed by more than 35 years of research-proven outcomes for children and families, according to the Parents as Teachers National Center, which is headquartered in St. Louis, Missouri.  

“It has been quite helpful,” Matt said. “We are very pleased with them. They feel like family. It is a constant reminder that we are on track.” 

William entered preschool recently at the age of 4, and his parents noticed that he needed some help with social-emotional skills. The Derby PAT program once again stepped in with activities the family could do together to help William with social-emotional skills. 

“I’ve seen growth (in William),” Jasmine Matt said. “Parents as Teachers has noticed changes. It has helped me grow as a parent, too.” 

The Derby PAT program started in 1992, said Jeremy Lewallen, program coordinator. 

“We’ve been around the block,” she said with a laugh.  

Derby’s PAT was “started as a quality program from the get-go that has offered a lot to the Derby community,” Lewallen said.  

“Over the years, the program has been supported by the district,” she said. “We’ve been able to host a lot of different group connections for families and serve them with home visits.” 

The Matt family participates in home visits, the Cookie Bookie Club (a literacy program) and Wee Panther Pals, which is for children ages 3 to 5. 

Currently, the program has 124 families enrolled with 166 children receiving home visits. 

The Derby program last month was designated as a Parents as Teachers Blue Ribbon Affiliate by the Parents as Teachers National Center Inc. This means that the Derby PAT program completed the Parents as Teachers Quality Endorsement and Improvement Process and earned the highest distinction – Blue Ribbon Affiliate status. 

Being named a Blue Ribbon Affiliate affirms that Derby’s program is among the highest quality programs of the home visitation and parent education field, implementing the evidence-based Parents as Teachers model with fidelity and quality. 

The Derby program is one of several PAT programs in Kansas to receive the Blue Ribbon Affiliate status. For more information on Kansas Parents as Teachers, visit Kansas Parents as Teachers (ksde.org). For a listing of all Kansas Blue Ribbon Affiliates, visit 2022-2023 Parents as Teachers Kansas Directory (ksde.org). 

To receive the Blue Ribbon Endorsement, the Derby program had to undergo a rigorous self-study and review process from the National Center. 

Derby’s PAT program will be recognized at the Parents as Teachers National Conference in 2023. 

“To receive this honor, it was integral for all employees to step in and take part,” Lewallen said. “We knew in our hearts that we already were a Blue Ribbon program. But this validates everything we are doing and is proof that the services that we provide to our district is at the quality standards of the National Parents as Teachers program. I’m thankful for the team I get to work with. I’m thankful for the community and for the families who want to be participants in the program.” 

There are 64 affiliate PAT programs in Kansas, according to Lisa Williams, a Kansas State Department of Education (KSDE) PAT consultant. PAT serves prenatal through age 5, and there is no charge to families to participate in the program. 

During the 2021-2022 program year, professional parent educators in Kansas conducted 55,510 home visits to support families, Williams said. PAT programs serve 6,114 families and 8,128 children on a yearly basis in the state. In Kansas, there are 275 trained, professional parent educators. 

Tuesday, Nov. 8, is National Parents as Teachers Day, Williams said. 

“Parents as Teachers affiliates in Kansas focus on helping all children learn, grow and develop to their full potential,” she said. “I look forward to Nov. 8 to recognize the hard work and dedication of our Kansas PAT affiliates and parent educators.” 

For Jasmine Matt, every day is a good day to celebrate Parents as Teachers. 

“I’m super grateful for Parents as Techers,” she said. “It’s been very good for our family. I always recommend it to other military spouses that I meet. They (Derby PAT) will always be in my heart.” 

Posted: Nov 3, 2022,
Comments: 0,
Author: Ann Bush

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