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UCPS parent organizations connect and strengthen partnerships at Parent Engagement Meeting

Parent Engagement It’s no secret that parent engagement can be at the cornerstone of student success. Parental involvement not only restores parents’ confidence in their children’s education but research has shown that it is a critical component in improving student achievement.

But starting or maintaining a successful parent organization relies heavily on the support of others – whether it’s other parents and volunteers, community and business partners or even school partnerships.

That’s why UCPS hosted a Parent Engagement Session on Nov. 14 to help parent organizations throughout the district form partnerships, collaborate with one another and learn ways to strengthen their organizations. By providing an opportunity to strengthen parent and family networks, the session was also a part of the district's Strategic Plan 2022 Engage Parents and Community theme.

To kick off the session, UCPS district leaders shared best practices with the parent organizations, and NC PTA Executive Director Mari Pokornowski encouraged the group to reflect on the critical role of parent engagement in schools.

Following the speakers, the parent groups had the opportunity to participate in their own small cluster wide meetings, where they bounced ideas off of each other, discussed strategies and worked on forming new school-to-school partnerships.

“We’re starting from scratch so I wanted to come tonight to learn, hear from other parents and get ideas of how to start and grow our organization,” East Elementary PTO President Teresa Hernandez said. “The kids deserve to have parent advocates and they deserve to be celebrated. I’ve been looking forward to learning from everyone here.”

Having the time to sit and ask questions of other parent groups also proved to be an invaluable experience for school administrators like Sardis Elementary Principal Kevin Beals, who attended the session to learn more about how to increase overall parent engagement in his school and grow the Sardis Elementary parent organization.

“We want to find ways to increase our parent engagement. I truly believe that our parents want to be a part of our school and they are very supportive of our schools and teachers, but they may not know how to get involved or they are unable because of other circumstances,” he said. “Ultimately, that’s why conversations such as these are so important because we’re able to connect with other schools and learn from each other.”

Posted: Nov. 15, 2019