Parent Engagement Inspires Success

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Creating programs that are rooted in research is a significant – and growing – practice at Children’s Aid. This is true of our work with parents, since decades of research show that parent involvement in education is critical to student success. Higher grades, test scores and graduation rates, as well as increased motivation and self-esteem, are just some of the benefits of parent engagement. Even more than socioeconomic background, an engaged parent is a reliable predictor of improved academic performance.

Unfortunately, too many parents in our high needs neighborhoods lack skills to help their children succeed in school. But with guidance and support, they can become strong models for learning at home and at school.

At Children’s Aid College Prep Charter School, which opened in late August, we are planning to hold a workshop series and leadership trainings to provide parents with the skill sets they will need to become engaged members of the school community. We hope to cover topics ranging from understanding developmental milestones and organizing homework time to planning for college and navigating standardized test results. Each of these sessions will be focused on our goal: to help the students at our charter school become college graduates.

We are also organizing a Parent Leadership Council to help ensure student success. The Council will advise the school’s leadership, plan activities and create a firm connection to the community. A member of the Council will also serve on the school’s Board of Trustees, which has primary responsibility for decision-making at the school.

Most parent activities will happen onsite at Children’s Aid College Prep, which is located in the Morrisania section of the Bronx. Beyond stubborn poverty, this community faces grim odds: just five percent of adults over 25 have a bachelor’s degree, and single mother births account for 80 percent of all births there. Children’s Aid is committed to its work strengthening families in this community and lifting the neighborhood out of poverty.