Connecting Parents Project Description
Generous grant funding from the Deutsche Bank Americas Foundation has allowed CIET to create the "Connecting Parents to Schools" Project. This project is attempting to more intensely address the major barriers impeding greater immigrant parent participation in the NYC school system.
A core group of committed parents attend weekly sessions on school-related topics and have taken on the project goal of gathering the content material for an "ESL-level" website geared towards immigrant parents (www.lagcc.cuny.edu/immigrantparents/index.html). Project participants have surveyed other immigrant parents at LaGuardia or in their communities in order to find out what content they might like to see on such a website. Project workshops included visits from current students who are members of their local PTAs, who shared their insights as to immigrant parent participation in parent associations.
In an effort to promote autonomy on the part of immigrant parents, participants have researched workshops or relevant meetings being offered for parents within local schools. They have then attended those meetings individually or in small groups, building upon the knowledge gained in workshops and the contacts made during school-visits with parent coordinators and school staff to post online the most up-to-date and useful information and resources for their peers. Participants have also been developing a list of useful resources with solutions to common school-related problems, tips on becoming involved and specific school information.
It is hoped that parents will gain the confidence to take on more active leadership roles in their child's education by volunteering for their child's school, attending PTA meetings, participating in school leadership teams, and eventually enrolling their kids in higher education.
CIET has also been partnering with organizations such as Learning Leaders and Advocates for Children of New York, Inc. to present a series of workshops focusing on parental rights, the benefits of volunteering in a child's school, along with tips on assisting children with learning and homework.