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Friday, 21 October 2016

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Parents can be vocal and assertive leaders advocating for excellent schools. Through IDRA’s almost 40-year history, a strong model of parent engagement has evolved, constructed from the experiences in the field, especially with Title I schools and the families whose children attend them. This website helps families see how their school is doing and how the school should treat you (English & Spanish), see actions families can take, get resources on IDRA’s Family Leadership in Education model and learn about college preparation for all students.





Community Groups and Parents Survey Peers about Graduation Policy
The Equal Voice-Rio Grande Valley Network, which includes Comunitario PTA members, surveyed more than 1,600 parents about their knowledge about Texas’ curriculum tracking policies and new graduation requirements. They learned that three out of four parents of teens in the Texas Rio Grande Valley have not received info about the new tracking policies and graduation plans. Few parents across 24 school districts and 30 cities in the Rio Grande Valley had received information from their children’s schools. IDRA analyzed the survey data and developed a report with the survey’s key findings, implications, and recommended next action steps for communities. See the bilingual infographic and the report as a PDF or on Slideshare.


RGV Equal Voice Network Education Working Group Hosts Second Annual Mesa Comunitaria
Community groups, parents and students were joined by school superintendents from across the Rio Grande Valley to discuss the results of the Equal Voice RGV HB5 Community Survey. The community encouraged superintendents to set the standard graduation plan for students across the RGV to be one providing students with courses preparing them and providing them with the opportunity to be college ready. Sofía Bahena, Ed.D., shares key take-aways that point to the critical role of authentic family engagement and community partnership with schools.

New Survey Finds Colonia Parents Know Little About House Bill 5
Lourdes Flores, co-chair of the RGV Equal Voice Network’s education working group was interviewed for this story about the Mesa Comunitaria. “Clearly, the information about the implication of HB 5 is not getting to the parents. It is going to take more than a letter to the parents or putting information out on a school website. It might take a conversation around the table. There needs to be different ways to deliver that message. We have got to do something about. We need to collaborate.”

School Days 2015 Making Sure Graduation Means Something
Michael Seifert wrote this story about the Mesa Comunitaria held by the RGV Equal Voice Network. 120 people attended the event: More than half were parents, 5 superintendents and 16 school districts represented. “In its own way, the Equal Voice Valley community has created its own endorsement path—a intentional collaboration between parents, community leaders, students, teachers and administrators that will work to make college readiness an attainable goal for every single Rio Grande Valley child. The issue is complicated. The needs nearly overwhelming.”

W.K. Kellogg Foundation Story: IDRA’s PTA Comunitarios Reach Families and Inspire Leadership
The W.K. Kellogg Foundation has published a story about IDRA’s PTA Comunitario work. “These “PTA Comunitarios” – organized and led by colonia families themselves with support and guidance from the Intercultural Development Research Association (IDRA) – are effectively engaging parents and families with powerful efforts that go beyond traditional family participation in their child’s education… Historically in the colonias, dropout rates have hovered around 50 percent, with only 10 percent of high school graduates going on to college. But in the first PTA Comunitario of 35 families, all of the children, most of whom are English-language learners, successfully graduated high school and went on to higher education.”


Federal Grant to Help Expand Relationship Between Parent and Community Groups in the Rio Grande Valley
IDRA hosted an Investment in Education (i3) grant kick-off event today to announce the development of community-based PTAs in five communities in the Rio Grande Valley . For the past three years, IDRA, Pharr-San Juan-Alamo ISD (PSJA) and ARISE have successfully partnered to implement the PTA Comunitario, a community organization-based PTA that gathers family leaders in Texas' poorest communities to engage them on education policies and educational opportunities for their children. As part of the grant, funded by the U.S. Department of Education’s Investing in Innovation (i3) fund, five additional school districts are joining the original partnership to expand these efforts. The five additional school districts are: La Joya ISD, San Benito ISD, Los Fresnos,ISD, Donna ISD and Pharr-San Juan-alamo ISD.

Video on Communities Using Data
See video interview of Aurelio M. Montemayor, M.Ed., about communities using data [06:02 min]. He tells the story of a group of low-income Spanish-speaking families and their high school children used data and surveys to collaborate with their school to improve math instruction. He states: “If data is presented in meaningful chunks, parents will look it, will ask the right questions and, if supported and encouraged, will take steps to at least dig deeper in a way that will help the school understand: here is what we need to do to resolve this problem.”

Immigrant Students’ Rights to Attend Public Schools
Many educators are not aware that the education of undocumented students is guaranteed by the Plyler vs. Doe decision or that certain procedures must be followed when registering immigrant children in school. The U.S. Department of Justice and the U.S. Department of Education recently reminded schools that activities that deny or discourage students to attend school are unlawful. See IDRA’s School Opening Alert for details. Available in pdf in English and Spanish.

Families Engaging Each Other to Improve Schools – IDRA’s Annual La Semana del Niño Parent Institute™
In the United States , schools have a long tradition of equating student success with family involvement. Just like motherhood and apple pie, family engagement in schools is the accepted mantra and expectation. Of course quality instruction and resources also have much to do with student success, but many accept the notion that family engagement is one very important aspect of student growth and ultimate success. So while in theory no one argues with the philosophy of family involvement, the type of engagement has been a loosely defined arena. In this article, Frances M. Guzmán, M.Ed., discusses how involvement of families has been determined more recently to focus on active partnerships that drive school reform and promote student achievement. She also outlines IDRA’s work in this area from our Family Leadership in Education model to the Annual IDRA La Semana del Niño Parent Institute™, which has become known for its innovation in showcasing parents as presenters.

Video Introduction to the IDRA OurSchool Portal
The IDRA OurSchool portal is designed to help you – educators and community members – find out how well your high school campus is preparing and graduating students, what factors may be weakening school holding power, and what you can do together to address them. [02:16 min]


Engaging Parents in Education
A new publication by the U.S. Department of Education profiles five parent information and resource centers, including IDRA Texas PIRC, and best practices in parent engagement. View publication here.


IDRA Texas PIRC Director Profiled
The director of the IDRA Texas PIRC, Aurelio M. Montemayor, M.Ed., was profiled in an interview in Our Children magazine. Our Children has provided the pdf version of the article for view here.


IDRA’s book, Courage to Connect: A Quality Schools Action Framework™. See how communities and schools can work together to strengthen their capacity to be successful with all of their students. Visit the book’s web page to get a table of contents, excerpt, related podcasts and other resources related to this book. Order your copy today! 

IDRA Classnotes Podcast – conversational audio program with episodes on parent engagement.


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