Turning the Tables on Parent Engagement



Tellin’ Stories Project

Teaching for Change’s Tellin’ Stories Project turned the tables on parent-school relations in DC public schools, modeling an approach that could be used nationally.

Tellin’ Stories did not have a scripted model. Instead, Tellin’ Stories used a popular education, grassroots organizing approach tailored to the strengths and concerns of the parents and the conditions at each school.

Tellin’ Stories staff members developed “signature activities” including Community Walks (parents introduce teachers to the school neighborhood), Academic Classroom Visits (parent classroom observations), Roving Readers (bilingual teams of parents read in the classrooms), and Principal Chit-Chats (structured, interactive conversations with the principal and parents.) Learn more.

The Roving Readers program began in 2003 when parents at an elementary school in Washington, DC were concerned about low expectations for their children’s education, particularly around literacy issues. Those parents collaborated with Tellin’ Stories to organize and train parent volunteers to serve as readers and storytellers in the classrooms monthly.