In News, Parent Dispatch

March 15th: Save the Date! PLAN’s Welcoming Spring Open House

We are so excited to invite everyone to PLAN for our Welcoming Spring Open House! Featuring wonderful food from our community’s cultures, our Board, staff and parent leaders will highlight some of our exciting stories of growth and transformation from our work in OUSD school sites and policy committees. We will also release our updated Strategic Plan that guides our Board, staff and parent leader work.

We invite all of our supporters and those interested in learning more about our organization to join us for an evening of quality time together.

Our PLAN Spring Open House will be March 15th, 5-7:30pm at PLAN’s offices – 7700 Edgewater Drive Suite 130.

For more information, please contact us at admin@bayareaplan.org.

 


Raise Your Voice for Family Engagement
by Alexandra Shane

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From December 2015 to January 2016, Parents at REACH Academy launched the Raise Your Voice listening campaign to learn how families feel about family engagement at their children’s school. As part of PLAN’s 2nd Annual Family Engagement Survey, more than 90 surveys were completed, representing 95 students and 25% of the student body at REACH Academy. The listening campaign included on-campus canvassing and had the full support of school staff, teachers, and the principal. Parent Leader Teresa Jauregui, who canvassed outside the school and helped parents fill out the survey, stated that “through this survey I feel more comfortable talking to parents I’ve never met. I also feel like the school community is starting to recognize me as a parent leader.”

As a Parent Organizer it makes me extremely proud to see parents develop as leaders through shared experience and discussions with other parents. Parents may feel like strangers in the beginning, but are uplifted as they began to talk about the similarities in their experience at the school site. As members of the REACH community we have gathered valuable information that can help improve family engagement throughout the district. We are excited to share the findings of this survey at the upcoming Community Forum on March 18th. A huge thank you to all the parents, teachers and school staff who participated and helped make this happen.

 


PLAN’s Parent Leaders are Ready for School
by Monica Scott-Green

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Findings from the Alameda County Kindergarten Readiness Assessment 2014 indicate:

  • Only 45% of Alameda County children are ready for kindergarten in all four Basic Building Blocks of school readiness.
  • Children are least ready for school in the self-regulation domain of the Basic Building Blocks.
  • Readiness in all four of the Basic Building Blocks (Self-Care and Motor Skills, Self-Regulation, Social Expression and Academics) is an early indicator of a child’s success in third grade.
  • Third grade success is particularly important because it a strong predictor of high school graduation.

Parents Ready for School

This school year Bay Area Parent Leadership Action Network’s (PLAN) award-winning curriculum Parents Ready for School (PR4S) introduced a new module on school readiness and transitioning to kindergarten. The revised workshop included three new segments. First, parents had an opportunity to examine and discuss the building blocks of School Readiness. Parents contrasted the expectations that existed when they started school and the academic, self-regulation, social expression, self-care and motor skills expected when children enter kindergarten today.

Second, the workshop went from role-play to real-play. Retired teachers came to the workshop for parents to practice the Right Question Technique. This process allowed parents to obtain real answers to their questions and provided parents the safe environment to build their confidence and skills in asking difficult questions to get what they need for their child or grandchild.

Third, to focus on the family and the school as partners in the education of children, PLAN introduced the ABCs of My Child, a one-page portfolio of my child. On this page, the family introduces its culture, the child’s strengths, challenges and support systems to the new kindergarten teacher. Parents loved this new tool!

The concept of a workshop module on readiness for the transition to kindergarten came from parent leaders’ analysis of the county-wide school readiness data. For more information contact: Monica@bayareaplan.org.

 


Four Years of OUSD’s Standards for Meaningful Family Engagement
by Enrique Valencia

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I’m a lucky guy. Every day I get to talk to families who share countless stories of being leaders in their child’s education. These stories are inspiring and each one is unique. Whether it is Ché sharing how she models reading at home for her daughters, Marina who makes it a point to be at her daughter’s music recitals or Daniela who gets up earlier than most of us every day to lead her school’s Safety Patrol in managing traffic, I am constantly reminded of the love families have for their children and how important family engagement is for student success. Coming into Oakland by way of East San Jose, I was delighted to learn about our District’s recognition of the role of families in schools through the six Standards for Meaningful Family Engagement.

In June of 2012, the OUSD Family Engagement Collaborative (to which PLAN was a member of) was instrumental in the passage of OUSD Board Resolution No. 1112-0730. – “Strengthen Family Engagement Through the Adoption and Implementation of OUSD Family Engagement Standards.” This resolution created six standards: parent/caregiver education program, communication with parent/caregiver, parent volunteering program, learning at home, shared power and decision making and community collaboration and resources.These standards certainly illustrate a powerful vision of the roles families and communities play in ensuring every child gets an excellent education. In my experience with visioning and action planning with parent leaders, I’ve learned that it takes real work to make visions a reality.

Three years post adoption of the resolution, PLAN asked families, teachers and community members to share their experiences around engagement. Through surveys and community forums we learned what we suspected was true; that we all want families to help students learn. And we also learned about real barriers families face to engagement. With our District’s budget and LCAP in stages of development, we hope that the investments made are preserved and the existing gaps are filled to ensure we fulfill the promise of the standards. Specifically, through our 100% Engaged campaign, we have identified two immediate needs:

  1. An on-site staff person who is focused on family engagement
  2. A resource center that connects parents with services they need and with volunteer, training and leadership opportunities at the school

Ensuring schools have these resources will allow families to share the assets they possess at a higher degree and will ultimately create stronger school communities. We hope you can stand with us as we work to create schools that are 100% engaged.

 


 

Support PLAN as We Race for Parent Leadership!

Show your support for the awesome runners of Team PLAN at the 2016 Oakland Running Festival! Our team comprises the mightiest of PLAN’s leaders, including Rebeca Diaz (Team Captain and Board Member), Edgar Ramirez (Teacher at REACH), Juan Vera (Board Member), and Enrique Valencia (Lead Organizer). They will need all of your support as they relay a full marathon through the streets of Oakland.

To support the cost of participation in the event we have a fundraising goal of $500. Please show your support and donate today! If you are interested in taking on the challenge we will field a second relay team if we can get 3 more people to sign up. Please contact Pecolia Manigo at Pecolia@bayareaplan.org or via phone at (510) 444-7526 ext. 301. We will be turning up on race day to support our runners and hope you can join us. More details will be released as race day approaches!

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