By Luz Reynozo, Administrator in Residence at Green Dot Public Schools
The saying goes, “it takes a village to raise a child” - but what does this really mean?
At Green Dot Public Schools, we strive to engage parents in their children’s education because we know that such engagement supports student success. We also know that barriers exist that make it difficult for some parents to be as involved as they might like. Parents who work multiple jobs or working long hours, for example, may not have the time to attend school meetings. Despite the challenges that many of our families face, Green Dot is committed to creating a bridge between students’ home life and our schools. Across our network, Green Dot seeks to form relationships with students’ families in order to see each child achieve success in college, leadership, and life.
Studies show that when parents are involved in their child’s education it
- Boosts their child’s self-esteem;
- Increases their child's desire to advance academically;
- Improves parent-child relationships and communication; and
- Helps parents develop positive relationships with the school.
Parent workshops educate and support
So, how is Green Dot helping support this partnership? Besides the traditional Back-to-School Nights, District English Learner Advisory Committee (DELAC), and School Advisory Council (SAC) meetings, Green Dot established a series of parent workshops--the “Parent Academy”--to provide information and education around the needs of students. These workshops focus on expected school wide learning results, which emphasizes the idea that students are lifelong learners, academic achievers, critical thinkers, effective communicators, and socially responsible citizens.
Eager to address the concerns of parents, this series was created to provide opportunities to learn how best to support their child’s success. At Ánimo Ralph Bunche Charter High School (ARB), one of many Green Dot schools implementing parent workshops, these topics educate parents on two additional themes.
The Poder Workshops (Spanish verb translated as 'to be able to' or noun translated as 'power'), open to all parents, address the graduation requirements needed for students to attend college, the college application process, how to motivate students to learn, how to access student information and progress online, and how to communicate with their child about grades.
The second theme is the Academic Focus Parent Development, which is intended to support parents whose children are struggling academically. This is tailored to support parents to work with their child in a much more informed manner. The program aims to provide parents with specific tools to open up a conversation about academics, and come up with practical ways to hold their child accountable.
In both workshop series, parents have the opportunity to role play different real-life scenarios with their children in a safe environment. This helps participants build confidence and hone the skills needed to problem solve situations that may arise with their children.
At Ánimo Ralph Bunche, like at all of Green Dot’s schools, “it takes a village” means creating a partnership with parents to ensure their child’s success. It means providing parents with the tools to support their child at home and in school.
“It’s inspiring to be able to provide parents with information and to spend time with them figuring out ways to support their children,” says Principal Nancy Padilla-Flores. “I want parents to know we want to see their children succeed and that we want the parents here at the school. This is their school too,” Padilla-Flores adds.