Families and Schools Together (FAST)

Bringing together families, schools, and communities to help every child succeed

By eating a meal together, playing games and getting to know other families at the school, Families and Schools Together (FAST Program) engages parents in their children’s lives and strengthens the familial bond. The FAST® Program is an internationally-acclaimed family program, and Family Service has been hosting it throughout San Antonio schools for over 25 years.

FAST Program impact:

  • 85% of children prepared to enter the school with the appropriate skills for their age level using accredited assessment tools
  • 85% of parents/caregivers report a positive change in child’s behavior following increased parent knowledge and practiced skills
  • 85% of participants report increased knowledge on the importance of parental involvement following pre/post assessments

*these statistics reflect our program impact as of 2019

Research shows that parental involvement leads to improved educational performance (Bexar County Community Plan, 2010).

Parental rejection, neglect, and physical abuse have all been found to relate to aggressive behavior and delinquency.  When children feel out of control and frightened, they may attempt to control their environment through aggressive behavior, acting out, becoming withdrawn and often defiant (Bexar County Community Plan, 2010).


Families spend 37 minutes together a day on average.

The FAST® Program helps strengthen family units and ensures they have crucial time together with weekly sessions. The parent engagement program is built on evidence-based family therapy practices. Families benefit by engaging in healthy, consistent, and structured activities.

Family Service’s certified trainers follow the FAST curriculum. FAST improves children’s school behavior and their emotional problems. It decreases family conflict and improves academic performance. It helps students get along with their families, strengthening their bonds with their parents and their peers. FAST promotes the full potential of every child.

The program brings parents, children, teachers, and schools together to enhance communication and provide the opportunity for quality time.

The sessions aim to increase parental involvement in schools by supporting parents and children with stress-reduction techniques, building self-esteem, and developing resiliency to fend off social influences.

What sets FAST apart from other family and parenting courses?

Parent empowerment:

FAST is centered on empowering parents as the leader of the family and instilling the importance of parents as support and guidance for their children.

Social connection:

Families and parents from within the same schools meet together to develop relationships and expand their social networks.

Family Interaction:

Sometimes, the kids lead the time together with free play and at other times the parents provide clear activity instructions to their families. The FAST instructors are not lecturers during the meetings, instead, they are additional support systems to provide a structure to teach the family.

Parents and children who participate in FAST reduce overall stress and strengthen their core relationships. Something that impacts their lives past the eight weeks of the program. By experiencing positive activities together, they build a stronger family dynamic and increase their adaptability for change – building a lifelong support structure. Through the FAST program, families learn and grow with each other while they attend the weekly sessions. They build relationships with each other and become more involved with the school and the community as a whole.

Families and teachers are asked to complete a pre- and post-program survey. Not only does this help Family Service and FAST constantly improve, it also helps us track the impact and needs of our families.

Depending on the target population – elementary, middle or high school students — FAST program is eight to 14 weeks long and comprises of 2.5-hour sessions. Family Service currently focuses on elementary school FAST with eight week programs.

Each FAST school has a FAST Team consisting of a facilitator, a school representative, a transitional coordinator, a parent partner, and a community partner. Family Service’s team is FAST Trainer Certified.

Family Service’s FAST programming addresses the social determinants of health by creating a positive environmental setting through the school, including all family members no matter their age, conducting positive multi-generational activities, offering strength-based services, and focusing on social inclusion. By meeting families where they are today, they have the opportunity to learn and grow with their children to become stronger, healthier, and more active members of our community.


FAST is afterschool programming occurring at specific schools in San Antonio.

FAST is afterschool programming occurring at specific schools in San Antonio. Family Service is a local trained service provider offering the parent and family engagement course. To attend one of our FAST programs, you must have a child attending the participating school. Families are invited to attend with their entire family. FAST is for the entire family.

After the completion of FAST, families continue to meet monthly. This helps maintain the connections and positive peer network created during the FAST program and continues to build a sense of community within the school. FASTWORKS can look different depending on the school and the group. It includes community service projects and school activities.

The parent partner who participated in the family’s FAST Program becomes a parent coach and leads the FASTWORKS monthly meetings.

Locations and Times

Locations vary each school year and times are scheduled with each location once identified.

Partner School Districts include: Edgewood ISD, Judson ISD, Northside ISD, San Antonio ISD, and South San ISD.


Making a Difference

On the fourth night attending FAST, a new family stayed after the program to speak to the facilitator. The mother opened up about her recent separation from her spouse and the difficulty her oldest daughter was having with it. The facilitator made an internal referral for counseling, and her daughter began services. Mom was so grateful to have come to FAST, she and her children became even more engaged in the program. With each session, she met more parents in the school. By graduation, she had built a strong network of support and graduated with perfect attendance. Currently, mom and her children actively attend FASTWORKS.


Find the answers to your questions here

Is FAST free?

Yes! FAST is free for the entire family.

How long is FAST and do I need to attend every session?

The Pre-K and elementary FAST lasts for eight weeks and meets weekly for 2.5-hour sessions. We encourage participating families to attend every session. After the conclusion of FAST, families continue to meet monthly for up to two years through FASTWORKS.

How do I sign up?

You can contact Family Service at 210-431-7500 and speak to the FAST coordinator to find out if FAST is being offered in your school.

What does a typical night at FAST look like?

Families come together to enjoy an evening of fun including activities such as a family meal, singing, and interactive games.

Every FAST program night begins with family introductions and a family meal. We ask the entire family to sit together to enjoy each activity as a family unit. From there, the parents get an opportunity to get know each other and children are able to have free play.  Children are encouraged to have free play with their parent or guardian.  We close the night with positive announcements, birthdays, and school announcements.

What happens at the end of my FAST cycle?

At the end of every FAST Cycle, we have a graduation ceremony for the families. You are also encouraged to attend FASTWORKS to continue meeting monthly.


To sign up for FAST, you can call us at 210-431-7500 or fill out the form below.