How Ánimo Mae Jemison is Strengthening Parent Relationships

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At Green Dot, we believe the inclusion of all voices is key to building a transformative public school experience that truly impacts and engages the community. That’s why Ánimo Mae Jemison Charter Middle School (AMJ) works closely with parents to bridge the gap between students’ home and school lives. In addition to the traditional back-to-school nights and School Advisory Council (SAC) meetings, Green Dot partners with United Parents and Students (UPAS) to offer a series of Parent Academy workshops. The goal of our Parent Academy is to provide parents tailored information about how to support their students on the road to success in college, leadership, and life.

“At Ánimo Mae Jemison, we really strive to be a well-rounded resource for parents, so they always feel confident in coming to the school for whatever they might need,” said Ciani Murillo, AMJ’s Parent Coordinator. Murillo helps host monthly Parent Academy workshops at AMJ, in addition to helping coordinate the school’s monthly Coffee With the Principal events and Parent Institute for Quality Education (PIQE) meetings.

We’re In this Together

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The Parent Academy workshops are designed to provide parents with a core understanding of the issues that most affect their students. “We want all of our parents to be knowledgeable about the school system and the many other factors that play a role in their child's academic pursuits,” said Murillo. Past workshops have focused on homework assistance strategies, the power of positive parenting, increasing student literacy, planning for college, and recent changes to the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) policy.

“The last workshop I attended gave us guidance on how to motivate our children to stay in school and develop better study habits,” said Norma Garcia, an AMJ parent. “The staff at my son’s school shows us how important it is for us as parents to participate in the education of our children, to ensure they have the supports and guidance they need to do well.”

Each workshop is led by an AMJ staff member or community partner who is well versed on that specific topic. “These collaborations allow parents to see their community is there for them and ultimately unites us in building a stronger neighborhood,” said Murillo.

It’s All About the Students

“At Ánimo Mae Jemison, we are consistently looking for ways to bring parents into the school, to partner with them in support of their students, and build a more inclusive and robust community of support,” said Nate Geller, AMJ’s Principal.

We consider engaging parents a priority because we care about supporting them and their students inside and out of school walls. In the past six years, we’re proud that more than 5,000 parents from Green Dot schools across Los Angeles have completed Parent Academy workshops.

“So many parents have had a negative relationship with American schooling,” said Geller. “Parent engagement on a deeper level is about breaking that cycle of parents feeling like school isn't a place that’s 100% focused on the success of their child.”

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