Building Parent Leadership

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Building Parent Leadership

Transcript Of Building Parent Leadership

Building Parent Leadership
Today’s Parent Leaders
A Manual for Parent Leadership Month created by the Georgia Department of Education

The month of February has been declared Parent Leadership Month and every year various events and activities that recognize, respect, and celebrate parents for their leadership in their homes, communities, and schools take place across Georgia. Parent Leadership Month is designed to highlight the various opportunities afforded to parents, professionals, policymakers, and community members to engage in partnerships with the goal of building and supporting strong and lasting roles for parents as leaders in the school environment.
This manual was created to assist you and your parent leaders in organizing, planning, and implementing events, activities, and outreach programs to promote parent leadership in your school and community. We are happy to provide you with a framework and tools to help guide your efforts with the hope that you will be able to utilize some or all of the information at your school.
The Table of Contents provides detailed bullets for the events and activities provided throughout the manual. In addition, please visit the Georgia Department of Education Parent Engagement Program website where you will find an abundance of information, resources, and ideas for more family engagement events and
activities. We want to also recognize and show our appreciation for all involved parents, family-friendly schools, Parent Involvement Coordinators, Parent Mentors, and Special Education for helping the Georgia Department of Education continually promote parents in the important role they play in our schools. Working together provides an invaluable opportunity to achieve positive outcomes.
Dr. John D. Barge, State School Superintendent February, 2013 ● Page 2 of 21 All Rights Reserved

The events and activities in this manual are designed to assist your school in organizing and promoting Parent Leadership Month. This is your school’s opportunity to work closely with parent leaders to educate all stakeholders about Parent Leadership Month. Parent Leadership ………………………………………………………………………………………… 4-6
What is parent leadership? Who are parent leaders? How can I identify and train parent leaders? When do parents become leaders?
Parent Leaders = Strong Advocates ………………………………….…………………… 7-8 Benefits of parent leadership
Parent Leadership Month …………………………………………………………………………… 9-11 Purpose of parent leadership Promoting parent leadership Roles for parent leaders Tips from a parent leader
Building Parent Capacity ……………………….………………………………………………… 12-13 Time Communication Trust Training for Parent Leadership
Contributions of Parent Leaders ………………………………………………….………… 14 Formal and Informal
Parent Leadership Resources ………..……………………………………………….……… 15-19
References ……………………………………………….…………………………………………………… 20
Dr. John D. Barge, State School Superintendent February, 2013 ● Page 3 of 21 All Rights Reserved

Below are some strategies that you can use to discuss parent leadership with parents, staff, and community members. These resources can be used to create handouts, flyers, and/or brochures to describe Parent Leadership Month. What is parent leadership? Meaningful parent leadership in schools occurs when parents gain the knowledge and skills to function in meaningful leadership roles and represent the “parent voice” to help shape the direction of their schools’ programs and student achievement outcomes. Parent leadership is successfully achieved when parents and professionals “Build Effective Partnerships” and share “Responsibility”, “Expertise,” and “Leadership” in decisions being made that affect student success, families, and communities. The parents involved in these collaborations are called parent leaders. Who are parent leaders? A Parent Leader...
May be a parent, grandparent, relative, guardian, foster parent, or anyone else who may be in a parenting role Has experience or knowledge about using resources and/or services to strengthen his or her family Speaks and acts from his or her perspective as a parent
Dr. John D. Barge, State School Superintendent February, 2013 ● Page 4 of 21 All Rights Reserved

How can I identify and train parent leaders?
There are several reasons parents may want to become leaders in your school. It could be that they want to help other parents overcome challenges similar to their own and are eager to volunteer, or they just want to “give back” to their school or community. Below are some of the signs that a parent may be ready for a leadership role in your school. Look for parents who: 1. Participate in conferences, workshops, and meetings regularly 2. Participate in your school’s needs assessments 3. Acknowledge and respect your school’s policy and procedures 4. Advocate for and encourage other parents 5. Participate in focus groups 6. Are members of your school’s Title I planning team 7. Continue to take action when he/she receives feedback 8. Recognize the need for growth and change 9. Participate on the School Advisory Committee 10. Have a sense of commitment 11. Are strong and confident 12. A role model for other parents 13. Participate in quality improvement and evaluation activities 14. Assist with grant writing 15. Are spokespersons for youur school and/or district
In addition, it is important to establish a process that includes all parents, especially those who may be apprehensive or shy. Leadership doesn’t come easily to all; therefore, some parents may need to be groomed or mentored to become parent leaders.
Dr. John D. Barge, State School Superintendent February, 2013 ● Page 5 of 21 All Rights Reserved

Develop and implement the role of your parent leaders by empowering them with the skills and knowledge they need to become more actively engaged in the educational lives of their children. In turn, they can also become role models and mentors for other parents. This can be accomplished through: 1. Providing access to training/book studies 2. Creating opportunities to contribute to academic program development,
implementation, oversight and evaluation as well as policymaking, training and technical assistance, public awareness, and outreach 3. Providing support such as assistance with child care and transportation 4. Promoting leadership opportunities to work with staff and professionals in organizations that address key issues related to the parent leader’s area of interest and commitment 5. Providing concrete leadership roles (start small)
When do parents become parent leaders? Parents are more likely to become parent leaders when they…
Feel accepted, encouraged, and supported by other parents and professionals Are recognized for their successes and contributions Receive positive feedback and reinforcement See other parents like themselves taking on leadership roles
Dr. John D. Barge, State School Superintendent February, 2013 ● Page 6 of 21 All Rights Reserved

Parent leaders are strong advocates for themselves, their children and other families in their community. Many times in schools, parent leaders support the ideas of other parents, faculty, staff, and community members, or help to seek clarification on issues and concerns.
The following questions will help you identify if your efforts encourage parent leaders to become strong advocates.
1. Do you support parent involvement by empowering parents with the skills and knowledge they need to become more actively engaged in the educational lives of their children?
2. Do you encourage and promote student achievement by supporting and developing parental skills that increase social and academic student performance?
3. Do you provide leadership opportunities for ALL parents, especially to the underrepresented, and seek to change parent attitudes toward becoming involved in their child’s school and educational career?
4. Do you communicate, collaborate, leverage resources, and dedicate your actions to the business of improving schools?
5. Do you create opportunities for parents to become informed, organized, and work actively as a parent advocate for ALL children?
6. Do you gain the knowledge and tools to respond, guide, and support, the increasing needs of your counties diverse and special needs families?
7. Do you create community awareness regarding the various barriers (language, disabilities, environment, income, etc.) affecting students and student achievement?
8. Do you advocate for continuing education and/or ongoing training, so parents and educators can be full partners, informed decision-makers, and effective advocates for children?
Answering “yes” to any of these questions, means that your parents are leaders and strong advocates for education.
Dr. John D. Barge, State School Superintendent February, 2013 ● Page 7 of 21 All Rights Reserved

Benefits of parent leadership
Often schools limit the parent role, viewing parents as “them” and the school as “us”. This way of thinking needs to be changed to create the role of “partners”. By accepting the value parents offer as full partners in their child’s education you are allowing them to take ownership in their child’s learning.
Active participation in policy development, budgetary decisions, parent, student, and community advocacy, focus groups, and decision making build knowledge and skills, increase a sense of personal achievement, open doors for employment, offer a leadership role model for other families, and provide a model of community involvement and empowerment for the parent’s children and family.
Parent leadership is a strengths-based approach to family support founded on the belief that parents are most knowledgeable about their families and communities. They can provide valuable insight into programs and community efforts that will benefit all children and families. Parent leadership begins when schools support the development of leadership skills in parents and promote active participation in the school’s programs, projects, policy, budgeting, and continuous quality improvement activities.
Parent leadership is meaningful when parents and staff throughout the school work together as equal partners to:
Make decisions about the school’s policies, programs, and practices that affect students, families, and community, and Share responsibility, expertise, accountability, and leadership
Dr. John D. Barge, State School Superintendent February, 2013 ● Page 8 of 21 All Rights Reserved

Purpose of parent leadership
Parent Leadership Month was created to honor and celebrate the role of the parent leader. Parent leadership is an essential and effective way to strengthen student achievement.
Promoting parent leadership
February is designated as Parent Leadership Month in our schools. During this time, we honor and recognize parents for their leadership roles in their schools and communities at the local, state, and national levels.
Parent leadership is a vital family strengthening agent and strategy where…
1. All parents have the potential to become parent leaders. 2. Parent leadership strengthens families and promotes
children to be successful on multiple levels and creates positive change in the systems that serve and support children and families. 3. The experience of having influence on issues of personal importance helps parents who take on leadership roles expand their strengths and their ability to develop and implement plans to reach specific goals. 4. Often, parents who take on leadership roles in their homes, communities, and other settings become more confident and assertive, transferring their leadership skills to other areas of their lives, such as advocating for their child’s education. 5. Parents who are parent leaders are modeling positive, productive behaviors for their families, and this can have a positive impact on all family members, as well as generate increased respect for the parent leader in his or her own family. 6. Often, children of parent leaders begin to take on leadership roles appropriate for their age group, based on their parent’s modeling and ability to provide increased guidance about these new behaviors. 7. Health, education, social service and any other systems that affect children and families will achieve more positive results, utilize resources more effectively and expand their ability to create change when they partner with parent leaders to plan, implement, oversee, and evaluate their services.
Dr. John D. Barge, State School Superintendent February, 2013 ● Page 9 of 21 All Rights Reserved

The following suggestions are designed to assist you with promoting Parent Leadership Month in your school and community. Use this opportunity to work closely with your parent leaders, faculty, staff, media, public officials, and community.
Publicize Parent Leadership Month and planned activities on/in your school’s website, newsletters, and other publications.
Disseminate information about Parent Leadership Month through newspapers, apartment and community bulletin boards, churches, community organizations, and businesses.
Promote opportunities where parent leaders can participate and/or serve in meaningful parent leadership activities at the school such as: School Advisory Council and Title I Planning Team.
Spread the word to business and community members about the benefits of partnering with your school’s parent leaders through such means as: 1) creating more visibility and referrals; 2) advocating for specific needs or services; and 3) participating in new or expanded collaborations among community partners to maximize effective use of resources.
Roles for Parent Leaders
Some parents may not see themselves as leaders; therefore, you may need to encourage them to take on a leadership role. Below are suggestions you can use when trying to determine the role of a parent leader within a program:
Ask a parent to volunteer taking on a specific role that is compatible with what you know about his/her individual experiences, expertise, or skills.
Take calls and/or talk with parents when they come to the school. Introduce new families at meetings, workshops, and/or classes. Provide new families with information about the school and academic programs. Take responsibility for setting up a conference room, meeting place, or event. Meet and greet parents who come to meetings, workshops, classes, or events. Start a group activity with icebreakers or other “get acquainted” activities. End a group activity by summarizing what happened or setting dates or times for the next meeting, class, workshop, and/or event. Take attendance or notes/minutes. Share responsibility for student programs.
Dr. John D. Barge, State School Superintendent February, 2013 ● Page 10 of 21 All Rights Reserved
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