Friday, June 09, 2006

Seeking out diversity in parental involvement

Couldn't resist plugging this article on a groundbreaking program in California that has resonance for any school with a diverse community. Julie Feldmeier, writing for the Washington Post, explores the International Parent Leadership Program being implemented in the Howard County school district.

The program's goal: "to encourage immigrant parents to assume leadership roles in their schools and at the district level."

Interestingly, the Howard school district isn't so different than JIS -- students hail from 85 countries, Asians make up 12 percent, Hispanics 4 percent, and the district's schools have a reputation for excellence. And like JIS, they've recognized that cultural differences can affect how parents see their roles within the school.

This program aims to bring parents from those different cultures to the table by providing training in leadership structure, policy making, and curriculum. The hope is that, with the training and information, parents from other countries will feel more comfortable and confident with how their children's school works -- and they'll want to play a role in the decision making.

What a great idea!


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