Parent “Academies”

The San Francisco Chronicle recently published an article about a series of “PTA School Smarts Parent Academies” that are being held at a local school and others around the state. The President of the California PTA also has written a column about this effort.

I’m sure it’s a good experience for the parents involved, but it again raises concerns in my mind about how these kinds of parent academies/universities are run and their purpose. As I’ve written in Some Of These “Parent Academies” Just Don’t Get It…., many of these programs come with a pre-packaged curriculum with little input from parents about what they would like to learn. In addition, the focus is usually totally on the school, with no effort to learn what’s going on in parent lives and to help them organize together to deal with some of those bigger issues.

Elisa Gonzalez, our school’s parent coordinator, has done a great job of engaging parents to create their own “parent university,” and I wish more schools would use that kind of model.

The Smart Academies sounds like an excellent example of parent “involvement,” and that’s good. I just wish there would be more of an emphasis on parent “engagement.”

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