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Logan Square Neighborhood Association’s Nationally Recognized “Parent Mentor Program” To Be Featured on “Education Nation”

Press Release for Monday, September 24th at 8:00 a.m.
Contact: Bridget Murphy 773-384-4370 ext 41 (office) or 520-429-1544 (cell)

Logan Square Neighborhood Association’s Nationally Recognized “Parent Mentor Program” To Be Featured on “Education Nation”

“Every time a new parent enters the Parent Mentor program,” says Logan Square Neighborhood Association leader and Monroe School parent coordinator Martha Juarez, “I think to myself, ‘that is one more family saved.’” 

When the school bell rings every morning, Martha, a parent mentor graduate herself, welcomes a group of 25 parents into the school. Every morning, her team of parent mentors—mostly Latina immigrant women—rolls up their sleeves and gets to work side-by-side with teachers, giving students the individual attention they crave and leading the way to school transformation.

NBC’s 2012 “Education Nation” National Summit features the Logan Square Neighborhood Association Parent Mentor Program this week. A parent mentor video aired on The Today Show on Monday morning, and Patricia Lopez, Joanna Brown, and Soo Hong will be participating in the New York Summit.

Education Nation will highlight 10 case studies of “focused solutions” from around the country that have seen “demonstrable results.” The Parent Mentor Program will be the first case study to appear on the program.

“While there are huge challenges facing the American education system, there are countless examples around the country of solutions— successful programs that are getting results,” said NBC News President Steve Capus. “One of our goals this year at ‘Education Nation’ is to shine a bright light on some of those success stories to help communities around the country replicate those successes.”

The Parent Mentor Program is rapidly gaining momentum as a new model for parent engagement in schools. LSNA and Southwest Organizing Project (SWOP) are uniting to form the Parent Engagement Institute (PEI) to provide training and support for schools and community organizations looking to deepen their parent engagement work.

This year, the Parent Mentor Program will be up and running with 500 parent mentors in 50 low-income schools across Illinois, the majority of which will be part of a new pilot program through the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights and the Illinois State Board of Education. The CPS Community Schools Initiative is also working with the PEI to scale up the Parent Mentor Program. A new program is sprouting up in rural Colorado.

The 16-year-old LSNA Parent Mentor program trains parents (mostly immigrant Latina mothers, and increasingly African American parents) to work in classrooms daily, tutoring struggling students.  Schools who partner with LSNA have benefitted in raised test scores, warmer school climates, and happy students and families.  The Parent Mentor program has been a key to building parent-teacher relationships, involving parents in the school improvement process, and running the after-school Community Learning Centers run by LSNA. 

“Now that I see what goes on in the school day to day, I see there’s a lot that principals and teachers have to deal with. At first I was the one to hold a lot of animosity towards teachers and administration; now I want to see what I can do to help. Now I’m willing to put my whole, full, undivided attention to the school to do whatever it takes to make it more successful,” said Adam Little, a parent leader with Logan Square Neighborhood Association (LSNA) and Mozart Elementary School.

The Parent Mentor Program is the subject of two books (A Cord of Three Strands: A New Approach to Parent Engagement in Schools, pub. Harvard Education Press 2011, and A Match on Dry Grass: Community Organizing as a Catalyst for School Reform, pub. Oxford University Press, 2011).

For more information, please visit www.lsna.net or www.educationnation.com.

For a contact list of parent mentors and education leaders to interview, please contact Bridget Murphy at  bmurphy@lsna.net or (773) 384-4370.

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