Magazine article District Administration

Parents in Training to Help Solve Problems

Magazine article District Administration

Parents in Training to Help Solve Problems

Article excerpt

Several Connecticut communities are training parents to take more active roles in the success of their districts. Parents Supporting Educational Excellence (Parents SEE) encourages parents to learn about how their districts work and to get involved to help solve problems.

The 12-week, education-focused leadership program was developed by the nonprofit Connecticut Center for School Change, in cooperation with the state's Commission on Children.

How to speak, work together

The program teaches parents how to work effectively with people who hold opposing views, and how to best partner with district leaders--such as by running for school board, joining the PTA or volunteering in classrooms. They also learn how to better judge school and administrator effectiveness, and how to analyze data, from the academic to the financial, to determine if their schools are hitting benchmarks.

Finally, parents practice skills needed to effect change, says Patrice Nelson, Parents SEE program coordinator for Connecticut Center for School Change. For example, they practice speaking skills and presenting to board members so they can more confidently and effectively communicate their concerns to district leaders.

The program, which launched in 2008 in nine communities, now has more than 750 parent graduates from 22 communities statewide. It is hosted by early childhood collaboratives, town agencies, regional community centers and/or school districts. Each community sets its own goals. For example, the town of Stratford's program recruited parents of pre-K through grade 3 students by reaching out to community organizations, school PTAs and local social media groups. …

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