Missouri Teachers’ Overwhelming Response to Family Engagement Training

“This is one of the best trainings I ever attended.” – Elementary ELL Teacher, Bayless School District

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.

When asked what they hoped to gain from the training ahead of the session, the ELL teachers echoed several common sentiments: new techniques to attract parents from all ethnic backgrounds; more ideas to help their ELL families to meaningfully participate in the school community; and creative ways to welcome and make families feel more comfortable at the school. Most importantly, the teachers wanted ideas and methods that WORK.

Calderón and Turner led the teachers through a day of hands-on, interactive sessions designed to challenge their perceptions, encourage collective problem solving and strategizing, and equip them with best practices and field-tested tools that lead to effective family engagement. The participating ELL educators responded overwhelmingly to the session based on Teaching for Change’s Tellin’ Stories approach in workshop evaluations:

  • 89% strongly agreed or agreed: “I learned new strategies to overcome challenges engaging my students’ parents.”
  • 88% strongly agreed or agreed: “The ideas, skills, and strategies will be useful in improving student learning.”
  • 81% strongly agreed or agreed: “The information and/or strategies presented will impact my teaching and/or leadership role.”

Teaching for Change recognizes the St. Louis Regional Professional Development Center of Cooperating School Districts for extending the invitation and the participating educators for their commitment and engagement.