By M. Teresa Granillo, Ph.D., MSW
In June 2019, AVANCE, Inc. brought on a new CEO to lead the organization’s innovation and expansion efforts. Dr. Teresa Granillo came to AVANCE, Inc. with experience as a research professor and as an executive director in the nonprofit sector, but she was initially drawn to the AVANCE mission by her personal experience. Having grown up in a low-income, single-parent household, Dr. Granillo knows firsthand the impact education has on ending intergenerational poverty.
This past year, across its network of chapter and regional offices and licensees, AVANCE served over 7,000 families. While this is an incredible reach, it represents only a fraction of the much greater need. Dr. Granillo and her team understand that need and are focused on growing the organization’s impact to be able to reach all the parents and young children who could benefit from their evidence-based, culturally responsive programming. To accomplish that type of growth, the AVANCE, Inc. team has been exploring strategic partnerships and innovations, like the use of technology to deliver AVANCE programs to families who live outside current service areas. The organization has also been in talks with other providers and programs in the early childhood education field to see where there is alignment with the AVANCE Parent-Child Education Program (PCEP) and evaluate the possibility of partnerships that make sense for providing holistic services to parents and children across the Nation.
Under Dr. Granillo’s leadership, AVANCE, Inc. is not just bringing innovation to the core Parent-Child Education Program, but also engaging in rigorous evaluation to demonstrate its impact. Previous studies have shown that participation in PCEP increases parent knowledge of early child development, improves parenting skills, and results in better grade school attendance and better third grade reading scores for children. A study conducted by the Intercultural Development Research Association in 2014 also found that PCEP alumni reported higher family income and rates of homeownership after graduating from the program.
Most recently, AVANCE, Inc. has teamed up with Dr. Cynthia Osborn, from the LBJ School at the University of Texas at Austin, to study the impact of PCEP on children’s kindergarten readiness. Dr. Osborn is leading the quasi-experimental study, comparing the academic records of children who participated in AVANCE with their parents to those of children who did not participate in AVANCE. The study is ongoing, but preliminary results show that AVANCE children attended PreK and passed their kindergarten readiness assessment at significantly higher rates than non-AVANCE children.
These findings are critically important, and could not be timelier as school districts across Texas are now required to provide full-day Pre-K. Not all districts are equipped for this type of programming though, and many are looking for partners to help provide high quality early learning opportunities. AVANCE is well-positioned to be that partner and welcomes the opportunity to develop long-term, strategic partnerships with school districts and other early childhood education organizations working toward the same goal: that children are well-prepared when they enter PreK and Kindergarten and that their parents are effectively engaged in their child’s educational journey starting from birth.
AVANCE, Inc. is the headquarters for the nonprofit that opened its doors on San Antonio’s West Side in 1973. Today the organization spans the entire state of Texas and has a presence in parts of California, but even though more than forty years have passed, AVANCE is still dedicated to its mission of ending intergenerational poverty through two-generation education and support for parents and their young children.
Parent-Child Education Program (PCEP)
Parental Engagement Initiative (PEI)
Child-focused Programs :
Early Head Start
Full Stream Ahead
Early Head Start CCP
Child Development Accrediation (CDA)
Acute Patient Care/Certified Nursing Assistant (APC/CNA)
Work Place English
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118 N Medina St, San Antonio, TX 78207
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