How to Improve School Attendance

A Practical Guide for Schools and School Districts
A Project of the Los Angeles County Education Coordinating Council


Module 3: Parent Involvement—3

Parent University (Alhambra)

In 2008, the Alhambra Unified School District, in collaboration with Alliant International University, received a Department of Health and Human Services' Safe Schools/Healthy Students (SS/HS) grant. This grant allowed for the creation of a collaborative and cohesive infrastructure for providing alcohol and drug, safety, mental health, and early education services to students in the district. Through collaborations with the Alhambra Police Department andother community agencies and partners, Alhambra Unified established a sustainable infrastructure that maximizes resources and utilizes current staff to provide services to all students in the district. The vision of the Gateway to Success initiative is to provide comprehensive prevention and intervention services for the district as a whole, and to overcome many of the obstacles often faced by families who wish to access counseling support by bringing such programs to the school sites.

The Gateway to Success program also provides ongoing support and education for parents. In 2010, it sponsored a one-day "Parent University: We All Have a Hand in Every Child's Success" (figure 27), a free event featuring guest speakers, a tribute to local heroes, community resource vendors, free breakfast and lunch, and free child care, plus over 25 volunteer-led seminars about topics like student safety, parent and child communication, and nutrition. Over 1,100 parents and students participated in this community event.

In 2011, evening workshops were held every month, and a further series is planned for 2012–2013. Workshop topics are determined by the Gateway to Success Parent and Student Advisory Board "for parents, by parents." All sessions include free child care and translation.

Table 10 lists some of the topics covered over the years. Figure 28 is a flyer for Spanish-language parenting classes held at a local community agency for parents of students at Granada Elementary in the Alhambra Unified School District.

 

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Fig­ure 27

 

 

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Table 10

 

 

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Fig­ure 28

Incredible Years Parenting Classes (Alhambra)

In addition to programs for the parents of school-aged children, Gateway to Success's Incredible Years program provides classes teaching effective and useful parenting skills for individuals with children between the ages of three and five. These classes are held for 10 weeks and are available in English, Chinese, and Spanish. Figure 29 shows a sample Alhambra Unified School District brochure for parents listing the signs of school readiness in their children.

 

 

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Fig­ure 29

Baltimore City Public Schools

Baltimore City Public Schools has an extensive family and community engagement process; the district's annual report on that initiative for 2010–2011 appears in Module 3 Appendix A: Family and Community Engagement Policy Report (Baltimore City Public Schools).

 

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Ap­pen­dix A

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