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Extension > Family > School success > Professionals > Partnering for school success > Education: Our best legacy > About the development of the program

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Education: Our best legacy

teacher and student with certificate

Program participant and facilitator

About the development of the program

Program Beginnings

Based on previous Latino focus group findings, the development team worked closely with the Latino cultural guides to draft an educational program, based on the six factors and three additional identified elements. Get more information about the Latino focus group findings or find out about the factors and elements covered on the About the classes page.

The specifics for how to facilitate this educational program were written down in a “facilitator manual”-type format. Two complete educational packages of the program resources were developed:

To find out more about the educational package, see About the educational packages.

It is important to note that the English Education: Our best legacy educational package for Latino Families is not intended to be delivered to non-Latino participants. This English version of the educational resources has not been tested and validated with non-Latino English-speaking participants, nor is the intention to do so in the future. Remember, an objective of the original program was to deliver the program in Spanish to participants who have Spanish as their first — or only — language. Using the English version to teach this audience would be counterintuitive to the objectives of the program.

That said, you may want to use the English version if your audience is Latino and fluent in English, or you are teaching the class as part of a larger ESL or ELL effort. The English version also serves as a reference for those facilitators and partners for whom English is their first language.

The title of this program, Education: Our best legacy, was chosen by Latino parents. Latino parents — most of whom were recent immigrants — were invited to participate in the original pilot for the program. These parents told moving stories about leaving their home countries in order to live and work in the U.S., with the overarching goal to build a better life for their children. These parents felt strongly that educational attainment was one of the keys to a better life for their children. They were willing to make great sacrifices — such as leaving their country of origin — in order to give their children the opportunities of better education, graduating from high school, and attaining higher education. These parents felt the title, Education: Our best legacy, most aptly described why the program was important and why Latino parents would attend the classes.

The program, and subsequent implementation and evaluation, is based on the trans-theoretical model of change, as well as the adaptive change model. These theories recognize that learning occurs in social context, with the assumption that personal, behavioral, and environmental factors influence one another and the ongoing function is a product of a continuous interaction between those factors (Bandura, 1989; Bowles, 2006; and Prochaska, 2013).

Piloting of the program and finalization of resources

A draft of the program was piloted in spring 2009. It was subsequently revised and piloted at two middle schools as follows:

Pilot Schedule

Date Location Number of Participants
Spring 2009 Columbia Heights Middle School 16
Fall 2009 Columbia Heights Middle School 26
Spring 2011 Columbia Heights Middle School 32
Winter 2012 Roseville Middle School 14
Winter 2013 Columbia Heights Middle School 28

Both of the original pilot class locations were in Minneapolis-St. Paul suburbs, i.e., urban areas of Minnesota. The program has since been offered in more rural areas of Minnesota.

Evaluation of the pilot program found that parents who participated improved their understanding of:

The facilitator manual and related program resources were sent to reviewers in late 2013. The introductory and supplemental resources were finalized in early 2016.

Next frontier: Creating other versions

In 2016, the program team adapted the original Education: Our best legacy program resources to create a new version that is targeted to groups of participants who are not solely from the Latino cultural groups, and do not speak Spanish as their first language. Schools have shared that they need a program like Education: Our best legacy for their Latino parents. They also need a similar program for other underserved cultural groups (e.g., Somali, Hmong, etc. and low-income families). An English version of the program resources that is better suited for mixed or non-Latino groups of participants was developed early 2017 and called Education: Our best legacy Educational Package. It was finalized and distributed early 2017.

Plans are underway to culturally adapt the program for Hmong families. The exact title of the final program will be determined. The anticipated completion date for this new product is 2018.

The related CYFAR project

Throughout the finalization process, educators continued to use the draft facilitator manual and program resources in classroom environments with participants. University of Minnesota Extension received five years (2012-2017) of federal funding from Children, Youth and Families at Risk (CYFAR) related to the Education: Our best legacy program and larger Partnering for school success project. For more information about this project, see Partnering for school success CYFAR project (PSS CYFAR).


Bandura, A. (1989). Social cognitive theory. In R. Vasta (Ed.), Annals of child development, Vol. 6. Six theories of child development (pp. 1-60). Greenwich, CT: JAI Press.

Bowles, T. V. (2006). The Adaptive Change Model: An advance on the transtheoretical model of change. The Journal of Psychology, 140, 439-457.

Prochaska, J. O., Norcross, J. C., & DiClemente, C. C. (2013, February). Applying the stages of change. Psychotherapy in Australia, 19(2).

Related resources

Why is this program important? — Review why programs like Education: Our best legacy are so important for families.

More about the project — Learn about the focus groups research with different cultural groups, and the development of the Partnering for school success project.

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