In Irving ISD education isn’t just for the student, but the entire family. At the heart of the district’s effort to invest in Irving ISD families is the Parent Involvement team, which includes a parent liaison at each campus. Each liaison is key to getting parents involved on campus and connected to community resources.
“Our parent liaisons are passionate about helping our families and work diligently to increase family engagement,” says Liesl Payne, Parent Engagement Strategist for the Parent Involvement Department. “Teaching parent classes and providing community resources are just a couple of the ways our parent liaisons support our families.”
For Gloria Pierson, parent liaison of nearly 12 years, her job is about creating a tight knit community of teachers, students and parents. She began her role as liaison at Johnston Elementary School, where she previously worked as a bilingual paraprofessional. Despite her initial nerves about her new responsibility to lead parent classes, Pierson was able to overcome her own shyness and create a true community amongst the parents.
“I really didn’t like to speak in public, or much at all,” says Pierson. “I didn’t realize as a parent liaison I would have to give classes! But little by little I got used to it. Once the parents started coming they turned into my friends, and I felt more comfortable.”
About five years ago Pierson transitioned to a parent liaison role at Singley Academy. The transition from an elementary to a high school came with a set of new responsibilities and challenges.
“At the beginning we hardly had any parent [involvement] because they didn’t know about the opportunities, or thought they weren’t needed at the high school level,” says Pierson. “I started putting myself out there, meeting people at orientation and inviting them to classes.”
Not only does Pierson work diligently to get parents involved as campus volunteers and chaperones, she also works with individual families to meet their unique needs. Using a survey created by the Parent Involvement team, Pierson learned how she can best serve the parents at Singley, whether that is providing educational classes, mental wellness resources, food or clothing.
Beyond her efforts to boost the community at her own campus, Pierson helps guide the new generations of parent liaisons across the district, making her a key component in the team’s effort to invest in families across the district.
“She has taken the initiative to work with many of our new parent liaisons and partner with them to offer parent classes,” says Payne. “We are fortunate to have such an amazing team that is dedicated to helping our families better help our students.”