I had the pleasure of co-leading round table discussions and being on a panel at a Parent Basecamp put on by the Prichard Committee for Academic Excellence this past weekend. The Prichard Committee’s Mission is to “To provide a public voice advocating for continually improved education for all Kentuckians.”
In Kentucky, we are extremely fortunate to have this organization. The Prichard Committee created this one day opportunity for parents after receiving feedback from the region’s Superintendents. For the past decade, The Prichard Committee has been training parents through a program called The Governor’s Commonwealth Institute for Parent Leadership (GCIPL). I was fortunate enough to go through this program in 2012 and it was a life changer. While the GCIPL program is 5 days long, Parent Basecamp was meant to be a first step for those who have an interest in becoming partners in our education system without the large time commitment.
The day was a wonderful experience. At our round table discussions, Jim Detwiler (@JimDetwiler1), a good friend and Assistant Superintendent for Learning Support Services and I led the discussion using the Parent-School Partnership Continuum based on the book Beyond the Bake Sale by Anne Henderson and Karen Mapp. This was a great discussion starter for parents who now had a tool to be able to reflect upon the culture at their school. We then discussed ideas on how to start building relationships with their schools and open the dialogue on the benefits of moving along the continuum towards the goal of a Partnership school. The participants had the opportunity to move around to four other tables to discuss other topics (from Kentucky Academic Standards, School Data, Removing Intimidation when Talking to your School’s Leadership and Being a Champion for Students and Education) and tools which they could use.
Lunchtime was a time for reflection on what they participants had learned so far. It was fun seeing the light bulbs go off and the fires start to be lit in the attendees. Of course, they had many questions and the Prichard Committee brought back a number of GCIPL Fellows (graduates) to help answer their questions and make connections or give them resources.
The last session which I attended was the panel discussion letting the participants hear about opportunities to get involved in Northern Kentucky. Northern Kentucky Education Council, School-Based Decision Making (SBDM) Councils, Parents for Public Schools, Hope Street Group, All Pro-Dads all had representatives there and I represented both Kentucky PTA and ParentCamp. I love going to events such as these in that I always learn about something new and get excited about all the opportunities there are for parents to get involved.
My one takeaway confirms what ParentCamp is founded upon. Parents want to get involved, they just don’t know how or who to talk to. It is important for opportunities like Parent Basecamp and ParentCamp to continue to take place so that parents, guardians, mentors, grandparents raising grandchildren and advocates have a place to connect, find support and learn how to be involved in the education of our children.
Julie Pile (@juliepile)
ParentCamp Board Member
2014 GCIPL Fellow
#parentcamp #parentengagement #FACE #FCE #GCIPL