Tellin’ Stories Receives Grants for Professional Evaluation

 “[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 from The Morris and Gwendolyn 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.

We are using that funding to contract with Policy Studies Associates (PSA). They began with a survey of parents, teachers and staff members at several Tellin’ Stories partner schools in D.C. The initial findings were promising:

  • More than half of the parent respondents reported that the Tellin’ Stories project helped them learn to become advocates for their child’s school (55%), learn how they can helped their child’s class or school (55%), and learn strategies to help their child succeed in school (52%).
  • 80% of respondents to the staff survey reported that the Tellin’ Stories Project helped them better understand their students’ family cultures.
  • 83% of school staff members reported that collaboration between parents and school staff has increased as a result of the work of the Tellin’ Stories project, while 67 percent of respondents reported that staff members are more aware of the importance of parent engagement in their schools.

PSA also documented the Tellin’  Stories approach to family engagement in our first year partnering with E.L. Haynes Public Charter School in Washington, DC. The report notes:

“The openness in communication between parents and staff members and observations of the positive impact of parent engagement have encouraged more parents to share their thoughts and concerns with school staff. One parent explained:

Parents are more willing to share their ideas because they see that the school is moving in a direction that respects their opinion.

School staff members have also begun to think of new ways to share information with parents, including the involvement of students and parents with the delivery of morning announcements to share information about events and volunteer opportunities at the school.”

Click here to read the complete documentation report.