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panelists-listening-to-melia-300x168-5188470PLAN Joins Dr. Karen Mapp for Community Schools Forum

What will it take to build systemic and sustained family engagement in school sites and districts to improve student success? At a packed forum on May 7th PLAN’s Executive Director joined the renowned Dr. Karen Mapp and a host of Bay Area family engagement experts to lay it out.

PLAN’s executive director Melia Franklin was part of a panel of local experts who shared their experiences in building sustained site-based parent decision making and leadership at the May 7th Bay Area Community Schools Network 2015 Forum. What did we learn? That PLAN is right on the money with the work we are doing in East Oakland schools!

The forum started with a keynote address from Karen Mapp, EdD, the Faculty Director of the Education Policy and Management Program at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. Dr. Mapp presented her Dual Capacity Framework for Family School Partnerships, which provides schools and parents with a compass that guides collaborative development of effective family engagement to drive school improvement and student achievement. As we listened to Dr. Mapp’s examples of success and shared our own, we were excited to see how closely aligned PLAN’s programs are to this high standard.

Dr. Mapp called for fundamental changes if communities want to cultivate and sustain effective family -school partnerships that support student achievement and school improvement, highlighting six new standards:

  • Families must be seen as partners in improving educational outcomes
  • All family activities must be connected to student learning
  • Schools and families need a clear and open process for resolving problems
  • Parent networks must be valued and cultivated
  • Families must be actively involved in decisions on school improvement, and
  • Home visits to families are a proven strategy that strengthens family-school ties.

PLAN is ahead of the game in that we are already modeling these standards through our organizing and leadership development programs at several East Oakland schools. But Oakland has a long way to go before all families are seen as true partners in their children’s education. Stay tuned for PLAN’s upcoming report, The State of Family Engagement in OUSD, to learn more about our parent-led research and recommendations to the district.

By Monica Green

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