How to Improve School Attendance

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


Module 4: School-Community Partnerships—6

Models for School-Community Partnerships

❖  Garfield High School (Los Angeles Unified School District)

white bullet As outlined in The Story of Garfield High, Garfield High School offers a model of an individual school that has invested in parent engagement to improve its overall health. Beginning with parents who were already involved, school administrators provided them with uniforms (polo shirts) so they would be recognized as parent volunteers and strengthened their role by having them be a visible presence, walking around campus and visiting classrooms.

white bullet A parent office was provided at the school and a main parent coordinator designated. As the program grew, parents were trained by the assistant principal or principal on how to effectively work at the school, and were then stationed throughout the school campus near a person with a radio. Parents became the "eyes and ears" of school administration, getting to know the students and the school dynamics intimately.

white bullet To foster the flow of information, parent volunteers at Garfield hold monthly breakfast meetings with the principal to share their ideas and concerns for the school. While on campus, parents also help support student recognition by assisting in positive behavior celebrations and other activities that honor student achievement—(decorating for assemblies, making certificates, and so on.

white bullet A parent center was then established at the school to provide a range of classes available to all parents. Last year, it is estimated that the parent volunteers provided $56,000 worth of free services to the school, which totaled approximately 7,000 volunteer hours.

❖  Alhambra Unified School District

    For more information, see these sections in Module 3: Parent Involvement.

   square bullet Parent University (Alhambra)

   square bullet Incredible Years Parenting Classes (Alhambra)

❖  CADRE's Parent Empowerment Academy

white bullet Not only schools and school districts play an important role in building parent leadership in education. Nonprofit organizations also step in to help train, engage, and empower parents to be involved in schools, often when the school themselves have been unable or unwilling to work with them, or when parents want to be involved but do not know how.white bullet 

A local example is the Community Asset Development Redefining Education102 organization's Parent Empowerment Academy. As part of its work to empower and organize parents in South Los Angeles, CADRE holds parent academies in weekly evening sessions over several months, during which parents learn to become advocates to improve their children's education. CADRE organizes from the human rights principles that every parent or guardian has the right to full participation, and every child has the right to dignity and to reach their full potential educationally. CADRE trains parents in how to analyze such things as student discipline data and how to become engaged in improving the school climate of the school their child attends.


Conclusion

white bullet As stated initially, this module is in no way exhaustive, but simply highlights exemplary local examples of how strong community and school connections can promote student success, including improved attendance. These sample programs embody the principles of community mapping, community schools, and building parent leadership, and serve as a first step for educators to engage with colleagues and think creatively about improvements they can make at their school site in partnership with the community.

 

Appendix A

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Ap­pen­dix A


102 cadre-la.org

 

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