Prichard Committee member Cory Curl writes about the importance of family engagement to the success of schools. In addition to being a Prichard Committee member, Curl has worked in the Tennessee Governor’s Office on education policy as well as for the Tennessee Department of Education.
One key takeaway from Curl’s article is the importance of training parents to be effective advocates not only for their own children, but their community’s schools. Curl writes:
How can parents and families help their child’s school? My perspective is that the best things parents and families can do are to help their children learn at home, and to help other families do the same. In Kentucky, the Governor’s Commonwealth Institute for Parent Leadership (GCIPL), is a treasured resource to help parents learn about the education system and how to be education leaders. Most importantly, GCIPL guides parents in putting in practice what they have learned – and many end their training by launching a program in their child’s school or districts to help other parents.
Programs like GCIPL are also transformative in that they help parents and families understand what questions to ask administrators and teachers in their child’s school, to whom and how to ask the questions in order to both support the school’s efforts and spark action to make changes when needed.
Promoting community engagement around schools — rather than simply talking about the importance of community engagement — is critical to make schools successful. Too often, parents don’t know how to be engaged or where to direct important questions. Programs like GCIPL help address this concern and give parents the tools to be powerful advocates. Education-minded groups in other states would do well to replicate a proven program like GCIPL.
For more from Cory Curl, read here.
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