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Services for Educators

Parent Involvement and Leadership Development

Target Audience
Spanish-speaking parents of school-age children

Parent Needs Addressed
Parents want their children to grow up to be happy, successful, productive adults. Many parents, however, may not know how to navigate and negotiate the educational system. They may, for example, have experienced limited schooling and not speak English, which can make it difficult for them to help their children with challenging homework assignments to be done in English or to participate in parent-teacher conferences. Some may come from countries where teachers are expected to teach and parents to provide support at home and not realize that our schools value parents who come to school and get involved as volunteers. Many never attended college so they do not know how to prepare for and finance a college education or even that college is possible for their children.

Recommended Approach
We recommend the adoption of an assets-based, valuing approach that provides for the four dimensions of parent leadership: parents as teachers, parents as resources, parents as decision makers and parents as leaders and trainers. The parent involvement program should validate the informal ways parents instruct their children in the home and pass on family values and wisdom; show them specific ways to help their children learn at home; inform them about educational issues; engage them in planning, assessing options, and making decisions; and support emerging leaders as they become coaches of other parents and advocates for their children’s education and well-being.

Parent Competencies
The participants in this professional development will:

  • Pro-actively understand and support the school’s bilingual, ESL and mainstream programs
  • Communicate effectively with teachers, principals, and employers in order to obtain their support of a child’s achievement in true partnership
  • Support literacy and math concept development through parent-child interactions and activities done in the home
  • Review a child’s school records and monitor and interpret test scores and grades
  • Be familiar with course, graduation, and other state and local requirements and understand the importance of encouraging children to enroll in challenging courses
  • Understand the social, intellectual and financial advantages of a college education
  • Obtain information on college admissions procedures and financial aid opportunities
  • Identify social and educational services available in the school and community that meet individual parent needs
  • Set personal goals and create an action plan to develop personal leadership skills

Format

  • Monthly evening workshops with parents, conducted bilingually
  • Quarterly meetings with principal and other campus leaders to address how to improve outreach efforts and services to parents (optional)
  • Registration and travel costs for two parents and one staff person to participate in the Annual IDRA La Semana del Niño Early Childhood Educators Institute (optional)
  • Phone and e-mail consultation
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