The IDRA Newsletter is published 10 times a year. Each edition focuses on issues in education, striving to provide many different perspectives on the topics covered and to define its significance in the state and national dialogue. The IDRA Newsletter can only be mailed to U.S.addresses, but pdf and web copies are available online.

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Current Issue:
April 2014

Focus ~ Parent and Community Engagement 

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Newsletter Executive Editor
María "Cuca" Robledo Montecel, Ph.D.

ISSN 1069-5672

Rio Grande Valley Community Commits to Ensuring High Academic Region for All Students
Community members from the Rio Grande Valley gathered recently to discuss shared educational visions and goals for Valley students. As described in an article last month, the convening was aptly named Mesa Comunitaria Educativa – Educational Community Board. In this article, Hector Bojorquez describes what emerged from the event and how much of the Valley is transforming public education at a time when trends across the country point to increased privatization, shirking responsibility for equitable education funding, and, tragically, abandoning college as a goal for all students.

eBook: Key points parents need to know about the Texas graduation requirements (bilingual English-Spanish)

Families and Curriculum – Supporting Preparation of Students for College and Post-secondary Education
Parent educators and liaisons have been part of public school outreach for many decades. The Title I federal support to public schools funds parent involvement. The challenge has always been to have authentic and meaningful connections with families especially those who are economically disadvantaged, of color, recent immigrants…or all of the above. In this article, Aurelio M. Montemayor, M.Ed., discusses how the PTA Comunitario – derived from IDRA’s Family Leadership in Education model –has been a context for families to learn about, and take action on, educational topics that are critical for understanding their children’s education.A strong alliance between schools and community organizations is a means of maintaining excellent public schools, and incidentally, meeting the spirit of the law in federal parent involvement requirements.

Ebook: The PTA Comunitarios Approach

Principles for Transforming a School District This article by Hector Bojorquez is an excerpt from College Bound and Determined, released by IDRA in February 2014, that explores how PSJA has accomplished such a radical transformation so that others may advocate for similar transformations in their community schools. He outlines Six principles to show the process school districts can follow to make similar powerful changes.

Immigrant Students’ Rights to Attend Public Schools
Alert for Registering Students for School
As schools are registering students for the next school year, this alert is a reminder that public schools, by law, must serve all children. The education of undocumented students is guaranteed by the Plyler vs. Doe decision, and certain procedures must be followed when registering immigrant children in school to avoid violation of their civil rights.

As a result of the U.S. Supreme Court ruling in Plyler vs. Doe, public schools may not:

  • deny admission to a student during initial enrollment or at any other time on the basis of undocumented status;
  • treat a student differently to determine residency;
  • engage in any practices to “chill” the right of access to school;
  • require students or parents to disclose or document their immigration status;
  • make inquiries of students or parents intended to expose their undocumented status; or
  • require Social Security numbers from all students, as this may expose undocumented status.

Yet a number of schools are posting notices like these pictured (right) and on school websites that indicate Social Security cards and birth certificates are required before a family can register their child for school. Such practices are in direct violation of Plyler vs. Doe. 

IDRA Research for Parent and Community Engagement
As we continue yet another year of working to assure equal educational opportunities for every child, it is the “Research” in our name that we are purposefully and with profound intent spotlighting in the IDRA Newsletter. And we are doing so by increasing visibility and awareness of IDRA’s research and the impact it has had for children. Each newsletter this year will feature our research contributions to particular topic. This month, the spotlight is on IDRA’s research for parent and community engagement.

April 2014 Issue ~ Newsletter Plus  

Classnotes podcasts on Parent and Community Engagement 

How to Start a PTA Comunitario – Episode 131

Promotora Model for Family Leadership in Education – Episode 118

Rosie Castro on Parent Engagement – Episode 115

Expressions of Effective Parent and Community Engagement – Episode 100

The Power of IDRA’s Parent Leadership Model – Episode 3

Flier on IDRA’s four dimensions of parent leadership in education (bilingual English-Spanish)

IDRA PTA Comunitario Model – The Power of Family Leadership in Education… with a Powerful Twist

IDRA has released a new report, College Bound and Determined, showing how the Pharr-San Juan Alamo school district in south Texas
transformed itself from low achievement and low expectations to planning for all students to graduate from high school and college. In PSJA, transformation went beyond changing sobering graduation rates or even getting graduates into college. This school district changes how we think about college readiness.

Engaging Parents in Education – Lessons from Five Parental Information and Resource Centers


IDRA’s Quality Schools Action Framework™


Courage to Connect: A Quality Schools Action Framework
At a time when public education makes a world of difference to our students, communities and economic success, many are looking for strategies that will work for them and that will last. Courage to Connect: A Quality Schools Action Framework shows how communities and schools can work together to strengthen their capacity to be successful with all of their students.