Tellin’ Stories, our parent organizing program, uses the power of story to connect people.
Tellin’ Stories is the parent organizing program of Teaching for Change. We believe that for schools to provide the quality education our children deserve, families, schools and communities must be involved as purposeful partners in the education process.
Teaching for Change developed what we call the Tellin’ Stories approach to engage families and staff using the power of story to connect people from diverse backgrounds, to pass on valuable information and experiences and to organize collective action. Tellin’ Stories works with parents to create and implement action plans that affect the academic achievement and environment of neighborhood schools through relationship building (creating a story quilt), weekly meetings, workshops, trainings, and grassroots organizing. The most gratifying aspect of our work is that Tellin’ Stories, parents, educators, community members, and partner organizations are redefining the vision of school communities by helping those who are traditionally excluded from the decision-making process become a central part of it.
Tellin’ Stories Approach
We implement our Tellin’ Stories approach at three levels:
- Comprehensive Work in D.C. Public Schools transforms parent-school relationships through a focus on community building, providing weekly workshops for parents and teachers/staff, facilitating principal-parent dialogues, community asset mapping, roving readers, establishing academic-based parent-teacher meetings and visits, identifying school-based obstacles to academic achievement, and engaging parents in actions to address those obstacles.
- Cross-City Parent Leadership trains parent coordinators and parent leaders from local public schools to develop their leadership and organizing skills. Parent leaders expand their understanding of educational issues, enhance their leadership and organizing skills, develop parent-engagement strategies to take citywide and back to individual schools, and have the potential to build cross-city alliances that work towards system-wide improvements. Read more.
- National Training on the Tellin’ Stories approach and methodology for parent coordinators and school staff. For example, we have offered training for the St. Louis (MO) Public Schools, Newport News and Hampton (VA) Public Schools, the National Education Association, and the Maryland State Parental Information Resource Center.
Read more about how our nationally recognized approach works in schools.
|View this 12-minute film produced by the National Education Association.|
Tellin’ Stories was featured in Rethinking Schools.
Teaching for Change Featured at NCPIE.
April 19, 2013 - On Wednesday, April 24th, Teaching for Change will present our approach to turning the tables on parent-school relations at the monthly National Coalition for Parent Involvement in Education (NCPIE) meeting. América Calderón, bilingual parent organizer, and Allyson Criner Brown, associate director, of Teaching for Change, will present recent research about Teaching for Change’s approach to parent-school engagement called Tellin’ Stories. Read More.
Teaching for Change Pioneers Latino Parent Leadership Training in D.C.
September 22, 2012 - In Washington, D.C. and in cities across the country, cultural and language barriers present some of the biggest challenges to building effective home-school partnerships. Teaching for Change’s parent empowerment initiative has a few methods for overcoming this stumbling block: providing translation services for parent meetings, recruiting multilingual parent leaders, and promoting cultural understanding through community building and professional development are among them. Read More.
Teachers Connect with Families, Neighborhood During Community Walks
August 27, 2012 - On Wednesday, August 22, 2012, parents at Thomson Elementary School (DCPS) led teachers and administrators on a Community Walk through the neighborhood in which many of the families live. More than 60 teachers, parents, and students visited local landmarks and the buildings that many of the school’s Latino families call home. As the group from Thomson progressed through the neighborhood, other parents and kids… Read More.
Teaching for Change was successful in our to effort to help E.L. Haynes Public Charter School (in D.C.) expand and deepen parent engagement. Over the course of six weeks in the fall of 2010, parents created a quilt depicting their hopes and dreams for their children. E.L. Haynes was one of two schools selected in D.C. to demonstrate and document our approach to parent engagement in 2010-2011.