• by Aurelio M. Montemayor, M.Ed. • IDRA Newsletter • February 2009

Aurelio M. Montemayor, M.Ed.

In this new change environment, we might look to successful examples from the past and support new programs that combine key elements of success. Our PIRC experiences suggest some projects that would be useful in accelerating educational transformation through community connections and family leadership. We imagined five new efforts, some of which are based on former programs. The names and acronyms below are invented for illustration purposes.

  • VISTA-ChIPS – Teachers who are also a family and community connection;
  • PIE-ChIPS – Outreach workers who connect community and school;
  • CTC-ChIPS – Technology centers bridging parents, students, community and schools; and
  • BIT-ChIPS – Technology provided for use in homes in support of student academic success.

Following is a description of each idea.

Volunteers in Service to America’s Children in Public Schools (VISTA-ChIPS)

This would involve teachers for family and student leadership in education who are campus-based classroom teachers but also community-organization connected. This new role would combine excellence in teaching with effectiveness in family communication and engagement. Part of their workday would be spent in community centers and with families.

Parents-in-Education for Children in Public Schools (PIE-ChIPS)

Outreach workers who are tech-savvy promotoras (community outreach workers) would have a dual school campus and community organizational base. Their primary tasks would be to: (1) conduct home-visits; (2) identify and nurture emerging parent leaders; and (3) identify and mobilize neighborhood and school feeder-pattern community assets in support of the academic achievement of all students.

Community Technology Centers for Children in Public Schools (CTC-ChIPS)

These community technology centers would partner with community-based organizations, public schools and businesses that support excellent neighborhood public schools for all children. They would partner with existing public school computer labs and also provide new community center labs to facilitate and increase computer and Internet use by families that have limited access. PIE-ChIPS outreach workers listed above would staff the centers.

Barrios in Technology/Children in Public Schools (BIT-ChIPS)

This would be a parent leadership project providing technology and Internet access in homes where these are not present. Management of this project would be in the new and improved community technology centers, and key functions would be to: (1) assess computer presence in Title I-school feeding-pattern neighborhoods; (2) document and record family leadership in education and support of student academic success in the home; and (3) provide computers, technical support and fast Internet access in homes where families qualify through reciprocal family leadership in education and student academic support activities.

These recommendations also address some gaps in past work with Title I schools and programs and are practical ways to support teacher-family connections, effective school outreach to families, reducing the technology gap and integrating school-community efforts and connecting all in support of student success. For each recommendation there is research and experience to indicate the potential for impact on the academic achievement of all children, most especially those who are poor, minority, of color, speak a language other than English or are underserved for any other reason. So, we have anteed up our chips and are now holding a strong hand.

Comments and questions may be directed to him via e-mail at feedback@idra.org.

[©2009, IDRA. This article originally appeared in the January 2009 IDRA Newsletter by the Intercultural Development Research Association. Permission to reproduce this article is granted provided the article is reprinted in its entirety and proper credit is given to IDRA and the author.]