By Monica Scott Green
In February, PLAN will accept applications from schools in Alameda County to participate in the Leaders for Engaged and Active Parents (LEAP) program. The research based nationally recognized three-year program is expanding to assist more school communities’ move from traditional parent involvement to Transformative Family Engagement.
Where schools, families and communities share responsibility and are equal partners in student outcomes students thrive. The Leaders for Engaged and Active Parents, (LEAP) program builds the capacity of school communities and helps build sustainable systems that meet researched based standards and best practices in five areas:
- Parent volunteer system
- Student learning at home
- Shared power and decision-making between families and school staff
- Assessable and meaningful communications, and
- Coordination of resources and services for children, families and staff.
Lessons learned from PLAN’s highly successful LEAP pilot program funded by Kellogg Foundation demonstrates:
- Through focused improvement projects, LEAP advances strategies that accelerate student achievement
- LEAP starts where school communities are and facilitates a journey to develop stronger use of transformative family engagement practices and supporting structures.
- A cornerstone of the LEAP program success is an effective leadership development curriculum that a builds the knowledge, confidence and skill of parents.
- LEAP builds and nurtures a Core Team of culturally diverse parent leaders.
- Annual Family Engagement Assessments co-created by parents and staff form the foundation for family engagement recommendations in School Site Plans.
School sites that want to grow strong partnerships within a culturally diverse school community and accelerate student achievement are encouraged to investigate bringing the Leaders for Engaged and Active Parents, (LEAP) program to their school community. Applications will be available on the PLAN web site in early February. Additionally, you may email firstname.lastname@example.org.
PLAN Parent Leaders Presente!
By Sasha Shane
On January 18, 2018, OUSD and PLAN leaders Talmera Richardson, Eli Cuevas, Marina Muñoz and Liliana Alvarez gave a presentation at the Alameda County Department of Education Family & Community Engagement Network. This network brings representatives from local school districts together for monthly informative family and community engagement meetings.
PLAN Parent Leaders each gave examples of best practices in “Transformative Family Engagement.” During their visit to the Alameda County Office of Education, parents shared their particular experiences organizing with other parents in their children’s schools. Parents introduced themselves with a history of what brought them to this work – their children’s education. Leaders shared the different ways in which PLAN supports then as parents, as leaders in their communities, and with the academic success of their children. Moreover, they gave accounts about how they developed different types of leadership skills building their capacity to be involved in different aspects of their school such as being elected to their School Site Councils. Another leader, spoke about her participation in the subcommittee for English Language Learners at the district level position representing her child’s school District 7 in the Oakland Unified School District as part of the Parent and Student Advisory Committee. Many including long-time community leader, Marina Muñoz, talk about the opportunities for participation that PLAN promotes as a partner with school sites to improve family and community engagement and build parent confidence and parent power.
Parent Leaders are excited to be able to share how they have transformed their school by leading events that engage not just other parents but teachers who weren’t as connected to their community before their work to bridge and build relationships. These types of activities not only build leaders but develop a healthy vibrant school community.
Parents Leaders at one OUSD school site – Reach Academy shared their upcoming planning of a cultural celebration that will include new parents from different backgrounds and teachers exchanging culture. Lastly, at another OUSD school-site Madison Park Academy, PLAN is working with Parent Leaders to develop a strong volunteer system at the school.
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