Contributions for The Knowledge Loom:
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School, Family, and Community Partnerships: Input your ideas
Author: Richard Garcia
Role: Building admin/coordinator
Location: Boulder, CO
An administator's perspective: The family and community activities have to be focused on academic success. The city of Boulder and the Community Action Program have colloborated with the school district to implement the Latino Parent Leadership Training Project. The project is being funded by the City's Human Services Initiative. The Community Action Program works with about 5 elementary schools and 2 middle schools and invites parents from the high schools to send parents to the trainings. The program has a liaison who corrdinates most of the activities. The liaison has estblished excellent relationships with the principals of the participating schools.
At the begining of the school year the LPLT project liaison meets with the Latino community to identify the areas that would like to receive information and training. The groups have selected a wide variation of topics but, with the end goal of increasing the parent's involvement in their children;s education.
Some of the topics have been:
1. Involving parents in the decision making process.
2. Teen preganancy, what or how to prevent it.
3. The latino dropout rate, what can parents do to help their youth.
4. Child growth and development issues, etc.
The trainings are conducted by experts in those areas and usualy they are the people in the schools. This provides the people in the schools to have a more significant dialogue with the parents. Usually this is the only forum that some school people have to converse with their patrons.
The program has an effect on the parent on the topic of high academic standards, however in many instances it doesn't translate to actual high academic success on the part of the students. There are just to many variables that influence the achievement gap between the Latino student from their white non Latino counterparts. The training efforts do in fact have an impact on the parents. Especially when you ask them to tell you how many kids they have. Most of them answer more than one. I then go on to tell them that over 50% of the Latino student doesn't finish school, so I ask them to choose which one of the two kids will graduate. They often express some anguish, when I tell them that statistically one of thwm will not graduate from high school unless they start getting involved with thier schildren's education. After the initial shock, they become even more active with their involvement in school. Hopefully that someday this will translate to higher academic success.