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5 questions with: Cooper Early Education Center family consultants
Posted 12/9/22

Meet your family consultants! Cooper logo and photos of 3 family consultants

  1. What does a family consultant do?

    Maira: We start the year with the enrollment process that's our first connection with families, we identified  parents strengths and needs with our Family needs assessment, we set a goal with our Family Partnership agreement at our first or second home visit, during the school year we follow up with families and collaborate with them to accomplish their goal and adjust strategies to meet needs, we offer support and resources  as needed..We provided support with local resources and any other need they might have throughout the year.

    Brianna: Family consultants are the bridge between the school and our families. We try to help with any concerns or resources that the family may have.

    Jessica: Our main job is to provide support and resources to our Head Start Families. For most of our families we are their first experience with education, sometimes we are the first people families may leave their children with. So we want that first experience to be positive, lots of times I find myself just listening to our families, they may not necessarily need resources but just someone to talk to who understands, a safe place to go, someone who will listen without judging. I try to build a positive relationship with all of my families so they know if a need arises they can come to us, without judgment. During the summer months we enroll all Cooper students and help place them into classrooms, this past summer we also processed all the applications. Throughout the school year family consultants conduct 2 home visits (more if needed), at these visits we set goals with the family and help them find the resources they need to meet their goals. We help families if they need a ride to appointments, we are in charge of all the files, and inputting information into child plus. We help organize our monthly PACT nights and family Friday’s along with other community events.  We help in the classroom with the teachers and help with behaviors when needed. We also help at the front desk if needed. I know I'm leaving out many things that we do but those are the main things. 

  2. What makes your job as a family consultant meaningful to you?

    Maira: It’s very exciting  to see our Families  succeed and be happy when they accomplish their goals and when they become advocates for their families, children and themselves. I love the long lasting relationships I have made with kids and Families during the last 14 years.  

    Brianna:  Being a family consultant is meaningful by being able to help others that need/want the help. It is hard for people to ask for help and we just hope that we can make people comfortable in that regard.

    Jessica: As a little girl I have always wanted to help people and I have always loved working with young children. I want all children and parents to have a positive experience in a school setting. It is very rewarding when I see not only a child be successful but the family as a whole. When a family is able to become successful, and achieve their goals, goals they never thought possible, it's very rewarding to be a small part in their achievements. I love when I see past students/families out in the community and they remember me and thank me for just being there for them, just being a safe person to talk to. Most of the time, I don’t do anything to help the family except provide a safe place for them and a listening ear. 

  3. What do you wish people knew or understood about a family consultant?

    Maira: I want them to know that we are here to support them throughout the year and after, my job doesn't end when the kid moves on to kindergarten. I want them to know that it is okay to reach out and ask for help. We all struggle at some point in our lives and there are many people in our district and community that are willing to help. We can connect them with the resources that our community has to offer

    Brianna: I wish people understood that we are just here to help their child and their family. We don't place any judgment on anyone that would need resources, we just want to help their family in any way that they need. 

    Jessica: I wish our families knew that our main goal is for their whole family to be successful, we want their child to be academically successful as well as the whole family. We are here to help not judge their current/past mistakes. Lots of families think that when we do home visits we are there to check out their home to see if it's clean. That’s not at all true, yes, we want to make sure that their child's home is safe but we are not there to judge the way they live. I wish that more of our families understood that we want to help them. We are here to help rather it be by helping them find resources or by just being a listening ear. 

  4. Describe a "typical" day as a family consultant. 

    Maira: No one day is the same working as a Family consultant in Cooper, we can go from helping in the classroom, helping a student that is struggling, to taking a Parent to a doctor's appointment or to buy groceries. We are here to support everybody!

    Brianna: I come in and get started by checking e-mails around 8:10 to see if any students need help getting into their locker and backpacks off. Then just help when needed. Some teachers may ask us to go to breakfast with them, others may need some extra hands in the classroom. Check attendance to reach out to parents that have not given a reason for absence. I make sure I document anything that I need to and just help around the school with whatever is needed.

    Jessica: There is never a “typical” day at Cooper, everyday is different, and that’s why I love working here. Some days are slow but most are not. Everyday we check attendance and call families if their child is absent. If needed we go to the child's home to see how we can help get their child back to school. We input information and notes into child plus and make contact with families. We check in with the teachers and help provide support when needed. Lots of times we cover in the classrooms if a teacher/para is out for the day. We go and help wherever needed. 
  5. How do our families in Harvey County benefit from having a family consultant?

    Jessica: I think our community benefits by having us because we do help provide resources in hard times, our families come from hard places, and most just need a safe person to talk to, someone who’s not going to judge them because of something they may have done. If we don’t have the resources here we can help direct families to places who can help them. Cooper is an amazing place not only to work but for our community we have lots and lots of resources here in one place, and most of Harvey County doesn’t even realize it. We have some of the most caring and wonderful people who truly want to see everyone become successful. Yes, we care about academics and school readiness, but we want the whole family to be successful.