Bay Area Parent Leadership Action Network (PLAN) provides parent leaders and organization staff with leadership development and capacity-building tools to organize and engage parents for educational equity.
Bay Area Parent Leadership Action Network (PLAN) develops parent leaders in the movement for educational equity. PLAN’s leadership training programs parents the skills, knowledge and confidence to effectively organize and advocate within their schools and districts. With the skills they gain in PLAN training programs, parent leaders are changing their schools and communities.
PLAN’s training approach is rooted in the belief that parents are natural leaders and have the capacity to advocate for their children. It is guided by best practices for adult learning: it builds on the wisdom and experience of participants, it encourages participants to learn from each other, and it is action-oriented. PLAN to LEAD has a documented track-record of success for increasing the knowledge, confidence, and leadership skills of diverse parents and staff. [link to our three focus group studies here]
Recognizing that leadership development is a continuum, PLAN believes the best leadership development approach meets the parents where they are, builds on their wisdom and experience, and encourages them to take on increasing leadership skills. PLAN’s work is guided by the following values:
- Parents – by which we mean anyone who serves as a primary caregiver for a child – are the experts on what children and families need to thrive and are natural leaders who have capacity to advocate for their children.
- Understanding the need for parent advocacy is linked to understanding oppression in our society, related to class, race, language, immigrant status, gender, sexual orientation, and the under-appreciation of the value of parenting in our socioeconomic system.
- Parents—especially parents from low-income, immigrant, and communities of color who have been historically disenfranchised—must have a strong voice in the decisions that affect families.
- Adult learning, combined with ongoing leadership development and opportunities for collective action, is key to parent empowerment and movement building.
- Adult learning must build on the existing experiences and knowledge of participants, must be action-oriented, and must be relational, enhancing opportunities for parents to learn from each other and build trusting, respectful relationships.
- A parent-led movement that unites parents across the boundaries of language, race, culture, and geography will strengthen the parent voice in education and improve educational outcomes for children.
Launched in 2005, TOT builds the capacity of grassroots parent organizations, school based parent engagement programs, and family support programs to develop parent leaders and engage them in school reform efforts. Approximately 10 groups are selected each fall to participate in the 8-month-long TOT program. Participants receive training and support to develop and implement customized PLAN to LEAD training to energize and focus their parent leadership and action on education issues. In addition, participating organizations develop training skills and capacity of key staff and leaders through 30 hours of hands-on instruction and practice and 10 hours of one-on-one coaching.
Parents Ready for School (PR4S) is a curriculum which builds the skills and leadership of low-income and immigrant parents of pre-school age children so that they can successfully navigate public school systems to advocate for their children’s success. The PR4S program is a dynamic, hands-on adult education program delivered in six 2-hour sessions designed to:
- Increase the skills, knowledge and confidence of low-income and immigrant parents
- Increase parents’ ability to effectively navigate education systems and support their children’s success in school
- Equip parents to take advantage of—and create—opportunities for parental engagement in public schools.