The 2020-2021 school year has been hard on everyone, including parents. Parents Involved in Education, or PIE, is taking a moment to celebrate families.
PIE is a local interagency collaboration created to support bilingual and Spanish-speaking parents in the St. Vrain Valley School District area. Its annual parent celebration will take place online on Apr. 7 this year to recognize the resiliency of local families after a year of COVID-19.
Every year, PIE brings together Latinx community leaders and families in SVVSD to celebrate one more year of schooling and parent and student involvement in education, according to Martin Martinez, PIE co-chair and family support specialist at Boulder County.
“This year is different because of the pandemic, but we are still joyful because we had many people join our virtual sessions and stayed involved,” he said.
Some portions of the event will take place at the Longmont Museum, where they will be streamed live via Zoom, while others will be pre-recorded to ensure the safety of all involved.
PIE is the epitome of cultural brokering in Boulder County and holds the record in the county for the longest running and most successful interagency collaboration, Laura Soto, poet, operations manager at Philanthropiece Foundation and co-founder of Colectivo Cultura —, a local collective of artists who bring awareness to Latinx artists and talent across Boulder County. said.
Over 14 government, nonprofit and community agencies currently work in PIE’s task force to bring resources and information to its families and parents.
“Besides teaching courses across the county in Spanish, we also bring presentations geared toward the parents’ needs. Each year we ask parents what they would like to see and we organize our programming for the rest of the school year to bring them something every one or two weeks,” Soto said.
New to the program this year is a segment to lift up the names of loved ones who have passed due to the pandemic or the recent shooting in Boulder. The event organizers are asking families to share the names of their departed through the day of the event to be included in a Memorial, Resilience and Recognition presentation.
“(In our culture) we have a lot of respect for the dead and grief, so we talked about whether it would be appropriate to host this celebration,” Martinez said. “We decided to move forward with it but also make it into a remembrance for all the families who lost someone this past year.”
A leader from within the community joins this celebration every year to share a few words of inspiration and speak to the power of education. This year Marta Loachamin, Longmont resident and the first Latina to be elected as a Boulder County Commissioner, whose two children graduated from SVVSD schools, will participate as the keynote speaker.
“This is an annual celebration for families who are so committed to their kids’ academics”, Loachamin said. “I’m happy to support families and programs who have worked so hard to support Spanish-speaking and immigrant families … I believe programs like PIE succeed in meeting community needs because they really work to build relationships.”
The event will also serve as a platform for local artists to share their talents.
Local youth musical groups and artists such as the Timberline PK-8 mariachi band, the folkloric dance group and visual artists Jenny Padilla and Victor Alex Prieto— SVVSD high schools alumni who graduated from Skyline High School and Silver Creek High School respectively — will be featured.
“Traditionally, during the celebration we like to bring music and artistic expression from youth in our own schools,” Soto said “These young adults (Padilla and Prieto graduated from St. Vrain high schools and are now in college, they are local artists and we want the community to know them … we want to show off the talent that we have right here.”
While the collaboration was born out of a need to reach Latinx and Spanish-speaking families and help close the education and parental involvement gap in the school district, over the past decade, PIE has opened its doors to welcome members of the Black and Nepalese communities as well as minority families that find comfort in the outreach done through this effort, according to Soto.
“This is where parents feel most comfortable, in a safe environment. It is the bridge to receive all of the information and contacts they need. It is the only place where they feel open enough to ask their questions,” she said. “PIE is the live image of what cultural brokering looks like, even before it was recognized as such. It has always been open to all.”To access the Zoom event on Apr. 7 click here. Meeting ID: 839 7501 5343.