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NAES Overview
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Regional Office of Education

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Wheaton, IL 60187

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Home > Districts > Services/Programs > Navigating the American Education System (NAES) > NAES FAQs


What is Navigating the American Educational System (NAES)?

NAES is a curricular and training program developed to help Hispanic parents become proficient in navigating the American educational system. This program can be easily implemented in any elementary, middle or high school with a large Spanish-speaking population. NAES curricular materials are especially designed for parents who may have limited English. The NAES program does culturally what English as a Second Language (ESL) programs do linguistically. NAES is - Navigation for Natives of Other cultures. Often the role of education and the way it functions can be very different from what our Spanish-speaking neighbors know. NAES builds a bridge over this cultural gap.

What objectives are covered in each parent seminars?

Seminar 1 will provide Hispanic parents with an understanding of the role of education in the American society and enable these parents to identify and discuss appropriate parental involvement that may improve the academic performance of their children.

Seminar 2 will enable Spanish-speaking parents to explain how to establish a positive and productive connection with the school personnel in order to play a significant role in their children's education.

Seminar 3 will empower Spanish-speaking parents to identify and utilize strategies to maximize their children's academic potential. This includes topics like managing homework , developing reading skills and planning for post-secondary training or education.

Seminar 4 provides Spanish-speaking parents with the ability to recognize problems and develop strategies for dealing with specific issues which Hispanic students may face as hindrances to their academic success.

How does NAES help Hispanic parents and families?

There is a proven correlation between parental involvement and the academic success of children. Many Hispanic parents are not involved enough in the process of managing their children's academic success. This is one of the factors that may be the cause a lack of proficiency and lower rates of diploma completion on the part of Hispanic children when compared to other groups of students.

What barriers to Involvement Hispanic parents face?

A lack of involvement is not because Hispanic parents do not care. In fact, caring for one's family is an important value in the Hispanic community. However, Hispanic parents often face barriers to involvement that they cannot overcome on their own. While everyone recognizes that lack of English could be a barrier, there are also cultural and belief system barriers that are as great as any language barrier. The right kind of help can remove these barriers.

Why was NAES designed?

DuPage Regional Office of Education designed the NAES a program to address the needs of Hispanic parents in the area of parental involvement. It is in Spanish; it fits them culturally; and, it provides them with some basic skills they need to navigate the American educational system. It provides an effective and scalable solution. It can be used in the context of one school or one hundred schools.

Who designed NAES?

The curricular materials have been designed by Dr. Lourdes Ferrer. Dr. Lourdes came to the U.S. as a Spanish-speaking immigrant from Puerto Rico, following several years of community development work in Guatemala as well as experience working in Mexico. Her knowledge of Hispanic culture and the Spanish language ensure that the materials themselves will be culturally on-target. Dr. Lourdes is also the moderator for videos that are used in the curriculum for the seminars. As a motivational speaker, even on video she has the power to connect with Spanish-speaking parents. The program uses certified facilitators from the local school district who are bi-lingual to insure that parents have a local connection.

What is the curriculum for the parent seminars?

The NAES curriculum provides all of the tools needed to conduct successful parental involvement seminars including:

  • A professional PowerPoint presentation to visually guide the facilitators and parents in each seminar,
  • A motivational video to deliver core content in an engaging manner,
  • Support materials such as sample welcome letters, certificates of completions, and parent handouts.
What is the facilitator training all about?

The Facilitator Training is a two-day seminar that gives participants first exposure to all the NAES parent training materials including the videos, Power Point presentations and assessments. To best prepare participants to become future facilitators, this two-day seminar also covers the following topics:

  • Understanding Hispanic Culture
  • Adult Education and Hispanic Learners
  • Public Speaking for a Hispanic Audience
  • School Reform in America
  • Hispanic Trends and Issues in U.S.
  • Parental Involvement
What are the facilitator requirements in order to be able to receive a site license?
  • Fluent in English and Spanish
  • Bachelor's degree recommended
  • Comfortable speaking before a group of people in Spanish
Can I attend the facilitator training even if I am not fluent in Spanish?

Yes, other attendees are welcome to attend. This is a wonderful professional development opportunity that will offer participants a clearer understanding of the needs of the Hispanic community and their culture. Although only those participants that speak fluent Spanish will become certified facilitators, it is a beneficial opportunity to any individual. Site licenses are only available to schools, districts, or agencies that have a Spanish speaking facilitator successfully complete the two day training.

Where is the NAES training held and how can I sign up?

All the NAES training sessions are held at the Professional Development Center (PDC) located at 519 S. Grace Street, Lombard, 60148.

If you want to know about the next training session, please contact Dr. Lourdes Ferrer at:

Office Phone Number: 630.407.5815
Cellular Number: 630.514.1230
E-Mail: lferrer@dupage.k12.il.us

What are the NAES costs?

The facilitator training cost is $295.00 per attendee. It is a 2-day workshop that runs from 8:00 AM to 3:15 PM. Continental Breakfast and lunch are provided as part of the $295 cost.

The site licenses cost for DuPage County Districts is:

$500 for 1-4 sites
$1000 for 5-9 sites
$1500 for 10-14 sites
15 or more sites-call
The site licenses cost for out of DuPage County Districts is:
$750 for 1-4 sites
$1500 for 5-9 sites
$2250 for 10-14 sites
15 or more sites-call