Austin PBS is a great partner because they really get parents excited.

Posted on Mar 27, 2020

Everyone needs a good role model. Children naturally follow the guidance and behavior of their parents, but what about when those adults need some positive modeling themselves? At Wooten Elementary, Bernardo Martinez bridges that gap in his role as Parent Support Specialist. Parent Support Specialists focus on finding ways moms, dads and caregivers can take more active roles in their children’s school lives, from spending time on campus to helping with homework in the evening.

Mr. Martinez has had great success engaging caregivers. After 27 years in this field, he’s established relationships with a variety of community partners who provide additionally needed resources; for most of his career, one of those partners has been Austin PBS. For the past two years, Wooten Elementary and Austin PBS have been conducting five week workshops in Mr. Martinez’s classroom using the PBS app Scratch Jr. This workshop, unlike much of Austin PBS’s on-the-ground outreach, is for adults only.

One of the biggest challenges facing Mr. Martinez is convincing caregivers to get out of their comfort zone.

__“They come in here a little bit nervous. They’re afraid to take this step forward, learning new things. But people are eager to learn. I’ve worked very hard at gaining their trust and making sure that they’re going to learn something that will benefit the family and the community.” __

Using Scratch Jr., the workshop teaches the basics of coding. To be a good coder, one must be attentive to detail and follow the rules in order, all while using technology. Attendees are given take-home activities, including showing their children the lessons learned that day. Caregivers teach their children the coding they’ve practiced, reinforcing new STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, Mathematics) skills, with a particular focus on technical literacy and reading comprehension.

When children can observe their caretakers going to campus, coming home with assignments, and following through with their school responsibilities, it provides a positive real-life model.

“My favorite part about Scratch Jr. workshop is the tools that are given to the families. Austin PBS is a great partner because they really get parents excited about exploring new ideas and how to support their kids at home. We’re all born with a gift, but we carry that gift around not knowing what to do with it, and the thing is to open it up and share it.”


Austin PBS is a trusted source for educators because of the support of donors. Local school districts in our 20 county radius have turned to our learning tools for decades. As we adapt to being in our homes more, teachers and caregivers are relying on Austin PBS to help kids stay safe, have fun and continue their education. Visit for our ever-expanding list of resources available in English and Spanish. Share with the teachers and families in your life!