Published Online: April 30, 2003
Published in Print: April 30, 2003, as Children & Families

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Pulling Parents In



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Information on the certification program is available at www.pta.org

Almost 200 schools have been certified by the National PTA as Parent Involvement Schools of Excellence, the Chicago-based organization announced last week.

The honor, which was first bestowed on 26 schools earlier this year, means that schools are meeting high standards for involving parents and are working to meet the parent-involvement provisions of the federal "No Child Left Behind" Act of 2001. ("PTA Awards Special Certifications for Parent-Involvement Programs," Jan. 29, 2003.)

PTA leaders also used last week's announcement at the 800-student Hickory Elementary School in Torrance, Calif.—one of the newly certified schools—to introduce points that schools can use as guidelines for successful parent involvement.

The six points are open and two-way communication, supporting parents' roles as well as their diversity and culture, connecting parents with student learning, welcoming parents as volunteers, involving parents as partners in school decisions, and working with the community to provide families with resources and chances for students to "serve and learn beyond the classroom."

Training Preschool Parents

Parents of preschoolers will have a chance to learn the skills they need to become leaders through a program developed by the Prichard Committee for Academic Excellence, an advocacy group based in Lexington, Ky., and the University of Kentucky's Interdisciplinary Human Development Institute.

Financed with a $149,000 grant from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, in Battle Creek, Mich., the new Early Childhood Parent Leadership Institute will be an extension of the work that the Prichard Committee is already doing to train parents of K-12 students in Kentucky.

The initial funding will be used to determine what resources are already available to train parents of young children to become leaders, and to find ways that parents and early- childhood educators can work together to expand parent-involvement opportunities.

"This is the first time the Prichard Committee has been involved in an early-childhood initiative of this magnitude, and it's a great opportunity to use what we've learned about parental involvement in elementary and secondary schools to help parents of younger children," Robert F. Sexton, the executive director of the Prichard Committee, said in a press release.

—Linda Jacobson ljacobson@epe.org

Vol. 22, Issue 33, Page 10

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