Examples of Our Work

Parent Engagement Think Tanks

Parent Engagement Think Tanks are designed to create spaces to network, collaborate, and build a community where people can share ideas, dream together, and enact plans for parent engagement in their schools.

These free events are open to anyone interested in participating and includes parents, community liaisons, teachers, instructional coaches, administrators, and university faculty.

Some outcomes we have seen from participants include:

  • The formation of community partnerships, where people can combine efforts to serve their community
  • Unified approach across multiple school personnel, where community liaisons, teachers, and administrators communicate and work together to co-create a shared vision and design school programs
  • Teachers collaborating to plan parent workshops for their own classrooms such as Family Math Night
  • Teachers collaborating to offer parent mathematics sessions across their district

Partnering With Teachers

The UCLA Parent Project partners with teachers who are interested in connecting with their students’ families and caregivers. Teachers share their goals and vision, and UCLAPP can co-construct and/or support by planning, co-leading and reflecting on these parent engagement efforts. An example of this work comes from Ms. Jean Pryor. In academic-focused parent nights, she engaged parents in lessons, activities, vocabulary, and sample assessment items their children would experience over the next few weeks. Over seventy percent of families attended at least one of the four sessions offered during the academic year. Ms. Pryor saw a ninety-four percent average on her district mathematics periodic assessment data that year.

Possible outcomes include:

  • Teachers envisioning and enacting parent engagement specific to their goals, classroom, grade level with support
  • Support can be customized to match this vision
  • Parent engagement can focus on academic areas and go deeper beyond back to school night, performances, and field trips.

Partnering with Schools and Districts

With shifts in content and practice standards in all core academic areas, schools and districts are finding it helpful to include parent workshops as part of their approach in supporting teachers, families, and students in these teaching and learning shifts. UCLAPP and Center X supports this in two ways. One approach is to partner with schools and districts to offer concurrent parent workshops with teacher professional development. A second approach would be to offer parent workshops that focus on the Common Core standards and the school’s vision for enacting those standards. UCLAPP can create, co-create, lead, co-lead, and/or support the facilitation of these workshops.

Possible goals include:

  • Bring together teachers, parents, students, instructional coaches and parent representatives for the common goal of student success
  • Introduce families to goals, philosophies, and Common Core standards that guide teaching and learning, including shifts in classroom and homework practices
  • Introduce parents to district initiatives
  • Provide families a space to voice their views and offer suggestions for what they feel would benefit their children
  • Help support teacher efforts by engaging parents in experiences to highlight important transitions required by teachers and students. Parents participate in various tasks and activities as both a student and as a supporter of their child’s learning
  • Encourage parents to identify their strengths and share these strengths with others so we can build a toolkit for supporting our children

Partnering with Schools: Moving From Parent Involvement to Authentic Parent Engagement

Schools have varying levels of parent involvement, where parents volunteer to assist in endeavors such as school fundraisers, chaperoning field trips, preparing packets to send home, and supervising student drop-off each school day. We partner with schools to build upon the existing structure of parent involvement to empower families in authentic parent engagement models that create spaces for parents to grow in their leadership potential. We accomplish this by positioning parents as co-constructors and collaborators- they are knowledgeable contributors and valuable members of the school team. Administrators, teachers, and parents work together to identify cultural assets of the community and family interests in their efforts to design family events and workshops.