Stronger Families, Stronger Schools

Deerfield Run family

Side by Side is a faith-based nonprofit organization that works to strengthen Prince George’s County elementary schools in Laurel, Md. We are convinced that we and others in the community can and should build up local public schools into a source of pride and the best possible launching pads for children’s bright futures!

Great Start

Side by Side provides its Great Start program at five elementary schools. This is a series of free workshop evenings in English and Spanish for pre-kindergarten to second-grade parents. The parents find out what their children are expected to learn in the current year, and are given home activities to help in that learning. Topics include behavior, reading and math. The evenings include a meal for the entire family and children’s activities.

The partner schools are Bond Mill, Deerfield Run, James Harrison, Laurel and Scotchtown Hills.

See our 2015-2016 workshop schedule.

Also, learn about the success of the Great Start program – and view the Great Start video at right.

Hispanic outreach

Side by Side has worked with a group of parents at Laurel Elementary School, Padres Unidos por Un Futuro Mejor para Nuestros Hijos, to create a Hispanic parents guide for that and other schools in Prince George’s County. The guide is being distributed to Latino families at five schools.

Maria’s story

Maria Hernandez with her husband Jose, son Andrew and daughter Estefanny.

Maria Hernandez with her husband Jose, son Andrew and daughter Estefanny.

“The Side by Side program is very important for me because it’s a program that gives us great ideas. How you can help your child do their homework. One of the techniques that I have learned through Side by Side is to take away the TV from Monday through Friday. With the time we used to use to watch TV, I sit with them and play, color or read. I’m learning, and they are learning.

“One of the techniques I’ve learned is a game of ‘fishing.’ I take figures of fishes with a magnet attached and I scatter them on the floor. On each little fish, I have put a word or numbers to add – for instance, 2 + 2. Whenever they catch a fish, I will ask them to read the word or do the math. I have seen the result, that they have improved a lot. I feel great to know that they are learning and they are advancing.

“So for me, the Side by Side program is very important. So I invite all the families to come because Side by Side has been a great program for my family.”