Listen Up! Professional Development for Family Engagement Practitioners


Teaching for Change was honored to present at the National Family Engagement Conference in Cincinnati, Ohio on April 8, 2014. Hosted by the  Institute for Educational Leadership in conjunction with the Coalition for Community Schools National Forum, the conference focused on the intersection between family engagement and educational equity.

In our workshop we modeled some of the approaches we use in our  Tellin’ Stories project to help teachers rethink parent-school relations. We usually begin with a panel of parents from the school talking about their hopes and dreams for their children and their concerns and questions about the school. We modeled this activity in the workshop by asking for a show of hands of parents of current public school students and selecting five for our demo panel. Despite this being an improvisation, the insights from the panelists were profound and demonstrated the value of a structured time for teachers and other school staff to hear from parents.

We shared descriptions of some other activities including Community Walks and Grade Level Dialogues. Our workshop was preceded by keynote presentation by Beyond the Bake Sale co-author and Harvard University professor Karen Mapp about the release of the U.S. Department of Education’s Family-School Partnership’s Framework. Mapp joined 40+ parent coordinators and school staff members who selected our workshop.

ts_teaching-teachers-2_april2014How did attendees respond?

“Thank you! I loved the interaction. These are great strategies and ways to approach relationship building.”

“Great workshop! We will use the Community Walk as well and push for teacher professional development at our school.”

“I loved the parent panel. Thanks for explaining in depth the challenges behind conducting them and the benefits.”

“This workshop validated exactly what I was thinking.”

One of the highlights for our Teaching for Change staff was to meet school-community activists from across the country and the workshop on community-based approaches to parent organizing by Ocynthia Williams and Jitu Brown.

Teaching for Change’s presentation for “Listen Up! Professional Development for Family Engagement Practitioners” can be downloaded here.

Read more about the nationally recognized Tellin’ Stories approach here.

The Tellin’ Stories Project of Teaching for Change is supported through generous grants from the Gwendolyn and Morris Cafritz Foundation, the DC Children and Youth Investment Trust Corporation, the DC Mayor’s Office on Latino Affairs, and an anonymous foundation.