News and Updates
Parents and Teachers Swap Stories About What Children Can Do
February 20, 2014 - Maria Lopez* listened intently as the interpreter shared the meeting with her in Spanish. The mother of a student who loves to read, Maria came to the 3rd grade’s parent-teacher Grade Level Dialogues to find out more about what her daughter is learning in the classroom. Read more.
Parent Organizer América Calderón Wins Mayor’s Award
October 11, 2013 - We are thrilled to announce that América Calderón, Teaching for Change senior parent organizer, won the “Dedication Award” for her work with families in schools from the D.C. Mayor’s Office on Latino Affairs. She received the award on October 17, 2013 at a special event at the GALA Theater. Read more.
Welcoming Parents for a Successful School Year
September 11, 2013 - In its fourth year as a Teaching for Change partner school, Orr Elementary [DCPS] is no stranger to the Welcome Back Breakfast. But with a brand new principal—and a visit from First Lady Michelle Obama, Shaquille O’Neal, Dominique Dawes, and Allyson Felix as part of the national “Let’s Move” program—their 2013-2014 school year is already off to a unique start. Read More.
Community Walks Featured as “High-Touch” Strategy in Education Leadership Journal
July 1, 2013 - In an article for ASCD’s Education Leadership, noted family engagement expert and author of Beyond the Bake Sale: The Essential Guide to Family-School Partnerships, Anne Henderson, challenges school leaders to build strong relationships with their families over the summer months by planning a Community Walk, a signature activity pioneered by the Tellin’ Stories Project of Teaching for Change. Read More.
A Principal’s Reflection on Parent Engagement
June 12, 2013 - After nine years at Orr Elementary (DCPS) in Washington, D.C.’s historic Fairlawn neighborhood, principal Michelle Edwards has retired to forge a new path in her career. Three years ago, Mrs. Edwards invited the Tellin’ Stories Project of Teaching for Change to partner with Orr Elementary and develop a comprehensive family engagement program. She worked closely with Teaching for Change’s parent organizers and Orr’s staff, teachers, and parents to build a welcoming, inclusive school climate at Orr that supports student learning and meaningful parent engagement. Mrs. Edwards will truly be missed at Orr Elementary. Read More.
The Secrets to Better Parent Meetings
February 1, 2013 - The cornerstone of an effective parent engagement strategy is building relationships between parents, teachers, and administrators—but schools are becoming increasingly aware that traditional conferences and meetings with parents are not exactly engaging. “How to Have Better Parent Meetings,” Teaching for Change’s third Cross-City Parent Coordinator Training of the school year, detailed the essentials for a successful parent meeting. Twenty local parent coordinators, parent leaders, and community and parent outreach coordinators from the DC Public Schools’ Head Start office gathered January 25 at the American Federation of Teachers… Read More.
How to Build a Better Parent-Teacher Night
December 14, 2012 - For many schools, parent-teacher conferences, back-to-school night, and report card day are the only attempts to bring parents and teachers together. Typically, these meetings do little to foster sustainable parental engagement and sometimes the format even hinders meaningful collaboration.Teaching for Change’s Tellin’ Stories initiative offers a powerful alternative with its signature activity, parent-teacher grade level dialogues. Grade level dialogues are structured conversations between parents and teachers regarding students’ academic success. 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.
Working Together: Parents and Principal Start the Year with a Critical Dialogue
September 17, 2012 - In a promising start to the 2012-2013 school year, parents at Strong John Thomson Elementary (D.C. Public Schools) convened for the first of many discussions with Principal Carmen Shepherd. Just after the start of the school day on September 7, about 30 parents—a few with toddlers or infants in tow—gathered in the large meeting room for the first Principal Coffee & Chat of the year. The hour long monthly meetings over light breakfast were… Read More.
Parent Spotlight: Anai Crespo
August 29 -2012 - Anai Crespo is a mother at Thomson Elementary who embodies the outcomes we want to see in our parents. She is Mexican, speaks only Spanish, and has three children at the school in pre-K, third, and fifth grades. She was among the parents who felt marginalized by the school and administration in previous years. Last fall, however, Anai attended our story quilting sessions and emerged as one of the parents willing to do more if given a chance… 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 Offers Dynamic Training for DCPS Head Start
August 7, 2012 - How could this training be improved? ”More of it.” Role playing, strategy games, storytelling, and interviews were just some of the activities in store for D.C. Public Schools’ Community and Parent Outreach Coordinators (CPOCs) for Head Start. “Thank you!” and “I enjoyed it!” were among the comments the CPOCs shared at the end, but they were not at summer camp. They were participants in an interactive training facilitated by the Tellin’ Stories Project of Teaching for Change. Read more.
Tellin’ Stories Evaluation Shows Promising Early Results
April 19, 2012 -“Tellin’ Stories activities encourage parents to voice and work proactively, often jointly with school staff, to address their concerns,” concluded Policy Studies Associates, the firm conducting the evaluation of Teaching for Change’s parent engagement initiative, in a preliminary report this spring. Teaching for Change’s Tellin’ Stories Project has been recognized by the Harvard Family Research Project as one of the most effective approaches in the country for breaking barriers to school engagement for… Read more.
Bringing Parents Back to the Table
April 18, 2012 – “I feel more confident because of the Tellin’ Stories meetings – I can approach the principal and the teachers… What I didn’t do when my other children were in school, I’m doing now,” says Olga Salazar, a parent from Thomson Elementary (DCPS) in Washington, DC. Using Teaching for Change’s unique approach to family engagement, Thomson has seen more parents participating this year than in recent memory. Parents volunteer in the classrooms, meet regularly with the principal to discuss academics, assist with meals, help in the library, and… Read more.
Turning the Tables on Parent-Teacher Meetings
Dec. 29, 2011 – On a chilly, rainy Wednesday evening in October, more than 50 parents filled the Orr Elementary School library in Southeast Washington, D.C. to have an open dialogue with their children’s teachers about academics and expectations. The premise was simple: bring parents and teachers together to learn from each other and discuss strategies to support student learning at home and in the classroom. The event was a Grade Level Dialogue, a tool from the Tellin’ Stories Project, Teaching for Change’s nationally recognized approach to meaningful family-school engagement. Over the course of two days, nearly 100 parents attended dialogues… Read more.
Tellin’ Stories Receives Grants for
“[Teaching for Change] did not just increase the numbers of parents involved – it literally changed the face of who we saw coming in the door and advocating for their children.” – Michelle Molitor, E.L. Haynes Principal
October 4, 2011 – Teaching for Change’s Tellin’ Stories Project has been recognized by the Harvard Family Research Project as one of the most effective approaches in the country for breaking barriers to school engagement for traditionally marginalized parents. Recently, Teaching for Change received grants to support a professional evaluation of the Tellin’ Stories approach from the Cafritz Foundation, the Flamboyan Foundation, and an anonymous foundation interested in bringing our approach to building parent power and family engagement to the forefront of education policy and practices. Read more and view the Tellin’ Stories documentation report.
Missouri Teachers’ Overwhelming Response to Family Engagement Training
September 30, 2011 – Teaching for Change parent organizers América Calderón and Jhonna Turner traveled to St. Louis, Missouri in September to conduct a professional development session for more than 70 teachers of English Language Learner (ELL) students. Invited by the St. Louis Regional Professional Development Center of Cooperating School Districts, Calderón and Turner presented a full day workshop titled “Beyond International Night: Taking Parent Involvement to a Higher Level” to a packed room of educators from schools throughout Missouri. Read more.