Parent involvement: Bronx’s Mercy College parent center

22 Sep

Moi wrote about the importance of parental involvement in Missouri program: Parent home visits:
One of the mantras of this blog is that education is a partnership between the student, parent(s) or guardian(s), teacher(s), and the school. All parts of the partnership must be involved. Many educators have long recognized that the impact of social class affects both education achievement and life chances after completion of education. There are two impacts from diversity, one is to broaden the life experience of the privileged and to raise the expectations of the disadvantaged. Social class matters in not only other societies, but this one as well. A few years back, the New York Times did a series about social class in America. That series is still relevant. Janny Scott and David Leonhardt’s overview, Shadowy Lines That Still Divide the challenges faced by schools trying to overcome the disparity in education. The complete series can be found at Class Matters
Teachers and administrators as well as many politicians if they are honest know that children arrive at school at various points on the ready to learn continuum. Teachers have to teach children at whatever point on the continuum the children are. Jay Matthews reports in the Washington Post article, Try parent visits, not parent takeovers of schools.
The key ingredient is parental involvement. The Wisconsin Council on Children and Families (Council) has a great policy brief on parental involvement.

Karla Scoon Reid reported in the Education Week article, Mercy College education school reaches out:

Last fall, Mercy College opened the Bronx Parent Center to help improve student achievement by teaching, training, and supporting parents to become education advocates and active partners in their children’s schooling. The center wants to provide meaningful and individualized support for parents to assist their children academically, socially, and behaviorally from kindergarten through college.
Service Learning
The effort has also become a service-learning project for Mercy College, whose professors are donating their time to work with parents.
“This is an opportunity for our faculty to go back and work with the schools in a concerted way,” said Aramina Vega Ferrer, the center’s director and an associate professor of literacy and multilingual studies at the college.
About 200 parents have participated in the college’s workshops, and some, like Ms. Fernandez-Haghighi, have helped lead sessions. The center offers workshops throughout the school year covering topics that include strategies for children with special needs, technology, math instruction, reading, and parent leadership.
School-based parent centers are already open at two Bronx schools, and plans are underway to conduct quantitative and qualitative research to evaluate the Bronx Parent Center’s programs and identify best practices. In the future, Mercy College’s teacher-candidates will be involved with the center.
And while the center’s focus has been on Bronx public schools, which serve predominantly low-income and minority students, the college’s faculty is working with a parent group from suburban school districts in Westchester County, N.Y., as well.
“We know how to work with parents and not blame them,” stressed Ms. Ferrer, a former principal of Public School 46 in the Bronx, which also is working with the parent center. “We’re doing this to improve education.”

Patrick Rocchio reported about the programs of the center in Mercy College Parent Center opens:

The Bronx Parent Center, a new program and space to teach parents the skills that classroom teachers use to educate kids so that they can help give their own children get a leg up.
The program was designed by Mercy’s education department faculty for parents to support their children’s education through workshops, resources, and leadership development.
“The new program will help empower parents and provide them with the knowledge and the skills to support their children’s educational experience,” said Diaz, at a ribbon cutter for the new lab, for which he provided funding.
The program will empower parents as they interact with teachers and policy makers, said Diaz, who provided funding for the cendter.
He was joined by Mercy College president Kimberly Cline, who called the center “a culmination of a dream.”
School of Education dean Alfred Posamentier called it an example “for the rest of the region to follow, since we strongly believe that parents are the most neglected part of the ‘education equation.
The center will offer parents monthy workshops on topics including managing problem behavior, strategies to support special needs kids, helping with math, read-aloud strategies, parent leadership, and hands-on technology. It will so free of much educational jargon, said program director Aramina Vega Ferrer.
“We are going to talk plainly to parents, but we are going to engage them in strategies that teachers use in the classroom – we are bringing those strageies to them,” said Ferrer. “We are going to model them, have them practice it, and then we are going to observe them doing some of these things with their own children.”
The program’s seminars and study groups will be focusing on three C’s – consistant, coherent, and comprehensive, said Ferrer.

See, Mercy College Parent Center opens and Mercy College Parent Center
It is going to take coordination between not only education institutions, but a strong social support system to get many of children through school. This does not mean a large program directed from Washington. But, more resources at the local school level which allow discretion with accountability. For example, if I child is not coming to school because they have no shoes or winter coat, then the child gets new shoes and/or a coat. School breakfast and lunch programs must be supported and if necessary, expanded. Unfortunately, schools are now the early warning system for many families in crisis.

Tips for parent and teacher conferences

Common Sense Media report: Media choices at home affect school performance

Parents can use tax deductions to pay for special education needs

Intervening in the lives of truant children by jailing parents

Making time for family dinner

Embracing parents as education leaders

Where information leads to Hope. Dr.

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