In PLAN in the News

thumbnail-critical-but-underinvested-report-300x240-5326663Critical But Underinvested: The State of Family Engagement in OUSD

By Enrique Valencia

The 100% Engaged for Student Success Campaign Organizing Committee (OC) has been working hard to produce a report on the state of family engagement across OUSD schools. From March to May 2017, members of the OC visited OUSD schools to conduct school family engagement audits. Data from these audits informed the findings of our report: “Critical but Underserved: The Status of Family Engagement in OUSD, Part 1.” (Versión en español)

On May 24, 2017, the OC will presented their report findings to the public through an interactive gallery walk at La Escuelita Elementary School, the site of the most recent OUSD Board of Education meeting. Event supporters were invited to stand with the OC as they entered the OUSD Board of Directors Meeting to present the report findings into public record.

We are grateful to the 39 schools that participated in the survey. The information shared will help the 100% Engaged Campaign for Student Success advocate for our three demands: full time family engagement liaisons, interpretation and translation, and family resource centers in every school. Given the current challenges facing OUSD, it is critical that the district allocates the necessary resources to support family engagement. We need to facilitate and encourage family engagement in schools to ensure student success.

If you are interested in joining PLAN’s 100% Engaged for Student Success Campaign and in helping us shape the second part of this study over the summer, please contact PLAN at 510-444-7526 or email us at

group-shot-of-arroyo-viejo-f4es-graduation-300x225-1423856PLAN Parent Leaders to Present at National Family and Community Engagement Conference

By Monica Scott Green

Oakland families lead in School Transformation.  PLAN’s Parent Fellows Marina Muñoz and Talmera Richardson join Sabrina Moore, Co-Principal Madison Park Academy, in presenting to a national audience lessons learned and best practices from PLAN based on three years of building school site capacity for transformative family engagement.  PLAN will present and highlight the Kellogg funded Leaders for Engaged and Active Parents (LEAP) program.  

Sasha Shane, PLAN’s Parent Organizer, and Monica Green, Family and School Partnership Lead, will facilitate a pre-conference workshop at Madison Park Academy on Thursday, June 22, and a workshop on Friday, June 23, at the San Francisco Hilton in Union Square.

PLAN’s interactive workshops will address:

  • Forming and sustaining a cohesive Parent Action Leadership Team
  • The Reading is Fundamental and Fun literacy support campaign
  • Effective practices for Community Partners in supporting student achievement, outline training and implementation of a Parent Leadership Ladder for site, district, city and statewide advocacy strategies, and tools for effective parent and staff partnership in student literacy growth

The conference offers a unique opportunity to build strong alliances, organize collaboratively, and realize mutual goals with colleagues from throughout the Bay Area as well as across the country.  Click here for more information on the conference.


Setting Up Parents for Success in East Oakland & Marin City

By Kwame Nitoto & Gómez Arteaga

On Monday evenings during April and May parents gathered at Bayside Martin Luther King, Jr. in Marin City to attend Parent Cafe sessions facilitated by PLAN.  The purpose of each of these two-hour sessions for parents was to explore one of the “Five Protective Factors.”  The Five Protective Factors are 1. Parental Resilience – being strong and flexible, 2. Relationships – social connections for parents, 3. Knowledge of Parenting & Child Development, 4. Concrete Support in Times of Need, and 5. Communication – Social & Emotional Competence of Children.  By exploring these five topics families are fortified, and parents deepen their relationship with other parents.  Parents were very interested, and shared deep conversations sparked by prompt questions used by PLAN facilitators.  Parents shared incredible stories of real feelings and real issues they face balancing the struggles and triumphs of being a parent.

On May 22nd thirteen parent participants graduated from this training series.  PLAN hopes to train and guide them to join their School Site Councils to help organize to improve their school so that their children have the academic success all children deserve.

Similarly, on a sunny late afternoon in May in the East Oakland neighborhood of Arroyo Viejo, approximately fourteen Latina and African American parents and caregivers assembled in the neighborhood Arroyo Viejo Park at the OUSD Child Development Center (CDC) & Head Start. This was the first time that PLAN offered the Families for Early Success in this location, a program that helps parents know how to help their child prepare for success in their early years. The four part training series touched on the following subjects – School Readiness, Early Engineering, Early Technology and Parent Leadership & Advocacy.  

Preschool and kindergarten are pivotal new experiences for any child, and making sure that children have the foundation to succeed is at the core of PLAN’s Families for Early Success Program.  By deepening this understanding and coupled with the tools and the necessary skills to teach children from 0-5, these parents and caregivers are more confident and prepared to help their children thrive in this transition.  

By the end of the training series parents and caregivers were thrilled to try these new activities with their children.  One participant noted, “The class was interesting. I’m learning about myself and how I can do better with my grandkids.  I wonder what their life will be like now that I understand the process of teaching them about how to reach for the stars.”  Another Spanish-speaking participant noted, “We can learn anything if we put our mind to learning.”  And, “We need to share what technology/engineering is with more parents.”

Eleven participants of the Families for Early Success training series graduated on May 24th.  PLAN looks forward to continuing to partner with Arroyo Viejo Head Start and OUSD Child Development Centers and other CDCs to promote these types of learning opportunities for parents of children 0 – 5 years of age.

Our next Families for Early Success training series will take place with Oakland Housing Authority residents at Lockwood Gardens in late May and June.  For more information about this program contact Monica Scott Green, Family and School Partnership Lead monica@parentactionnet.

Engaging Parents: Creating Opportunities for Cultural Awareness

By Sasha Shane

On May 3rd, parents, teachers, and staff participated in the first Asian and Pacific Islander (API) Cultural Celebration at REACH Academy in East Oakland. The  Parent Action Team prepared for this celebration by selecting the theme, creating the program activities, and preparing the environment to reflect their culture.  

Reach Academy Parent Marilyn Tojong shared her experience immigrating to the US.  She prepared a short presentation about her experience that included tips on how to make the transition easier for immigrant families. REACH teacher Ms. Kim also shared her story as a Korean immigrant.  She expressed her appreciation for this country and how it is now her home. There was an icebreaker facilitated by Ms. Potea, who  led everyone in a unity clap, and explained the impact Filipinos had during the farm workers struggle. The celebration concluded with an activity in which participants were asked to solve a puzzle by working as a group without using words to communicate. Parents were excited the activity because language is often a barrier, and this activity teaches us that we do not need to speak the same language to work together and achieve our goal.

The Reach community was excited to close out the year with this beautiful celebration and new understanding of the API immigrant experience.  For more information on school site planning that incorporates these types of community building and transformative exchanges please contact us at










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