Free Webinar With Anne Henderson This Tuesday On Parent Engagement

Anne Henderson, one of the top — if not THE top — expert on parent engagement in the U.S., is leading a free Webinar this Tuesday. Here’s the information that I’m copying and pasting from the National Coalition for Parent Involvement in Education:

Free Webinar, April 22: High-Impact Strategies to Engage Families & Enhance Student Achievement

A free webinar on Tuesday, April 22, 2:00 PM — 3:30 PM ET

Anne T. Henderson, internationally recognized family engagement expert, will discuss high impact strategies to engage families and improve student achievement. Anne will offer concrete examples and guidance on how to better connect with families.

Hear from a parent of youth enrolled in a 21st Century Community Learning Center (21st CCLC) program and a 21st CCLC program director as they discuss on-the-ground family engagement experiences.

Get strategies and resources you can use to engage families and enhance youth outcomes.

This webinar will offer:

  • High Impact Strategies
  • On-the-Ground Experiences
  • Useful Resources
  • Opportunity for Discussion

You will also hear from Project LEAP, a 21st Century Community Learning Center based in Rochester, New York, about strategies they use to engage families in student learning.

Register here

This webinar is sponsored by the Family Engagement Resource Providers (FERP) project of Manhattan Strategy Group.

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Kellogg Foundation Announces Nearly $14 Million In Grants For Parent Involvement Programs

I’ve previously posted about the Kellogg Foundation’s initiative to fund parent involvement/engagement programs targeting families with children age eight and below.

They just announced a new set of grants and I thought it would be useful just to reprint their press release since it listed all the grantees.

Unfortunately, they didn’t send out anything indicating what specific efforts they were funding and, of course, we don’t know what they chose not to fund. In other words, right now there’s no telling what their definition of  what a “transformative family engagement program” really looks like to them. (They’ve now made that list available, and you can see the grant descriptions here)

With luck, they’ll be sharing more information about the grants soon…

W.K. Kellogg Foundation announces recipients of $13.7 million investment to empower parents as leaders and key decision makers in education

Thirty organizations from 18 states and the District of Columbia to create opportunities that connect schools, communities and families for economic and early school success

BATTLE CREEK, Mich. – The W.K. Kellogg Foundation (WKKF) is pleased to announce a total investment of $13.7 million to 30 exceptional organizations developing and implementing transformative family engagement programs in the field of early childhood education.

In September 2013, WKKF received more than 1,130 applications for this investment, the most ever received for a single funding opportunity in the foundation’s 83-year history. The unprecedented interest and clear demand from the field was an important indication about both the need and opportunity to invest in efforts that would result in increased family engagement in a child’s academic life.

“This was an eye-opening moment for us. We knew there was a need and a value around the issue of family engagement, but we didn’t realize the extent of the shared value around families’ desire to more deeply engage in their children’s education,” said La June Montgomery Tabron, president and CEO of the Kellogg Foundation. “We are actively seeding and cultivating authentic family leadership programs that create opportunities for parents to be engaged from the very beginning of their children’s education.”

The 30 organizations share WKKF’s commitment to family engagement, which:

  • Is defined as a shared responsibility between families, schools and communities for student learning and achievement;
  • Is a continuous process from birth to third grade and beyond that occurs in multiple settings where children learn;
  • Takes place in environments where empowered parents and families are leaders; and
  • Requires a shift in national conversations so that all families are viewed as powerful assets for their children’s education.

“All too often families are not at the table when it comes time to make major decisions impacting their children’s education,” said Carla Thompson, vice president for program strategy at WKKF. “These organizations recognize that family engagement is a core strategy connected to improving learning outcomes and are working tirelessly to lift up the voices of families in an effort to set all children on a path to success.”

A complete list of the 30 winners is provided below:

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Parent Coordinators and Parent Engagement

I’ve written a lot about Elisa Gonzalez, our school’s extraordinary parent coordinator. Her work is invaluable to our school’s overall success.

As part of New York City Chancellor Carmen Fariña’s often-stated goal to increase parent engagement there, a New York City parent coordinator has some suggestions for her:

As part of her pledge to boost parent involvement, I hope Fariña considers reinforcing the role of the parent coordinator. The way things stand now, she might be tempted to scrap them: the D.O.E. would save upwards of $39,000 per school per year—the figure at which parent coordinator salaries have been capped since 2003 (many make less).

But for this modest investment—a sliver of the D.O.E.’s $25 billion annual budget—I would argue that students and families are getting a bargain.

A more fruitful strategy would be to elevate the authority of parent coordinators and leverage their capacity to get adults engaged in the school. Train them in working with families and kids in crisis, with students with serious behavioral problems—in managing the daily realities of our system. And make the job worth sticking to, by creating channels for advancement and raising salaries.

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New Game: “Start the Talk: A Parent Learning Tool”

Here’s a new well-done online Choose Your Own Adventure game that is being nominated for an award at the Games For Change Festival:

Start the Talk: A Parent Learning Tool. It’s designed as a role-playing exercise for parents so they can practice speaking with their children about under-age drinking. Surprisingly — at least to me — it seems to offer some very good advice, and I can see it being useful to both parents and children.

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Threatening To Take Away Welfare From Parents Because Of Truancy Didn’t Work In Australia…

Taking away social service report from parents who are not involved with their child’s school is one of the ideas on The Worst Parent Engagement Ideas list.

The Hechinger Report describes what happened with a similar experiment in Australia in their post, Skip school and lose welfare? The good and bad of Australia’s tough tactics on truancy.

Here are some excerpts:

To make sure all students stayed enrolled until they were 17, officials put strict penalties in place and a series of supports for truants, such as opportunities to work with social workers. Parents could also be fined up to $11,000. And, as a last resort, parents on welfare could lose their payments if their child was truant.

Attendance did improve in areas where the program was piloted, by about 5 percent. But a 2010 evaluation by the Australian Department of Education found that it decreased after an initial bump and low-income students still had lower attendance than their peers. Critics said that the increases weren’t enough to justify the cost of the program – about $3 million a year for the trial in 44 schools.

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I Don’t Think Taking & Throwing Out Students’ Lunches Because Their Parents Owe The School Money Is A Good Idea

By now, you may have already heard about what happened in Salt Lake City this week — the parents of a number of students owed money on their children’s lunch account and, because of that, after those students were served lunch it was taken away and thrown in the garbage.

You can read about it in these articles:

Utah School Draws Ire For Taking Kids’ Lunches; Debt Cited is from NPR.

Utah school district apologizes for seizing kids’ lunches for unpaid bills is from NBC.

If parents don’t qualify for the free or reduced lunch program, of course schools should hold them responsible for paying. But, come on, this move does not make for a parent (or student) friendly environment. There are far more relational ways to work with parents on this issue.

It’s possible that the principal at this school might not have had many engagement parents. Now, there definitely will be, and I think they’ll be after his scalp (figuratively, of course).

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I Reluctantly Suggest This Bilingual “Parent Toolkit” Is Worth Checking-Out

I have been, and continue to be, skeptical of anything connected to NBC’s Education Nation — including their “Parent Toolkit” (see NBC “Education Nation” Unveils “Parent Toolkit” — Time To Be Skeptical).

However, they have just published a Spanish version of that Parent Toolkit and, given the dearth of good multilingual parent resources, I’m very reluctantly adding it to The Best Multilingual Resources For Parents.

Use it at your own risk, though….

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“Nominate The 2014 Toyota Family Teacher Of The Year”

From The National Center For Families Learning:

“Know a teacher that deserves an “A+” for engaging parents, children and educators in the learning process? Nominate them for the Toyota Family Teacher of the Year Award and the chance to win $20,000 for their school or non-profit program. The National Center for Families Learning, together with long-standing partner Toyota, have partnered to recognize the nation’s best teachers in engaging families in education. Formal teaching credentials are not required.”

The deadline is January 17th.

You can find all the information here…..

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“Sandy Hook Promise Launches ‘Parent Together’ As Tragedy’s One Year Mark Approaches”

Sandy Hook Promise Launches ‘Parent Together’ As Tragedy’s One Year Mark Approaches is the headline of an announcement from the Sandy Hook Promise organization about a new initiative.

Here’s an excerpt:

Sandy Hook Promise today announced the launch of Parent Together, a national grassroots campaign to educate and empower parents to prevent gun violence in their communities. Emphasizing mental wellness, healthy development, connection to community and gun safety, the campaign will bring parents together around their common love for all children to help prevent not just the next Sandy Hook tragedy, but also thousands of other acts of gun violence every year in every state…

Sandy Hook Promise will begin to roll out proven tools and programs for parents to implement or advocate for in their communities that focus on mental wellness, healthy development, community connectedness and gun safety. ; These tools and programs will be used by parents to help prevent gun violence within their homes, their schools, their communities and ultimately, our nation. ; Other national advocacy campaigns such as efforts to reduce driving drunk, promote recycling and reduce smoking created change across the nation by starting at a community level—Parent Together will do the same.

Here’s their short promotional video:

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