Conference Emphasizes Need for Parent Engagement in Education

This past week, 150 parents and educators convened to discuss the importance of parent engagement at Foster High School just outside Seattle. The event featured five speakers who emphasized the necessity of getting parents involved with their children’s education, specifically through programs that include parents in the teaching process and get them involved in the school community.

Joanna Brown and Tami Love from theLogan Square program in Chicago were featured speakers on the panel. Logan Square pairs parents with teachers at local elementary schools around Illinois who mentor the parents, involve them in the classroom and help them achieve their own education goals. These goals range from going back to school to becoming proficient in English.

Bridging the language gap is an important aspect of Logan Square’s program, as language barriers often make parents feel unwelcome in their school communities. This often dissuades them from getting involved with their children’s education or working with teachers.

Patty Samora, a parent liaison at Lake Grove Elementary said, “They can call it parent training or whatever they want, but what it really is, is breaking down barriers and connecting people to one another because when parents talk to parents it just grows. It becomes powerful.”

Both the Seattle event and Logan Square program emphasize that parent and community engagement is essential in nurturing education. When teens reach high school, it is important for parents to remain involved in the college process, whether it be helping students apply to college, saving for tuition or encouraging their kids to stay in school. FUEL works with families from different backgrounds, offering our Savings Circle workshops and college access curriculum in multiple languages so as not to exclude families due to communication challenges. Our program places a similar emphasis on engaging parents in their children’s education, providing families with financial information, college knowledge, savings incentives and resources to help their high schoolers pursue their dreams of a higher education.

Photo Credit: NBC News and Seattle Times

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