Hoping to improve parent engagement, the Berkeley Unified School District is seeking to expand its parent-liaison program to every pre-school and elementary school in the district.
Currently, only a few parent-liaisons are working within the district, with the primary focus of reaching out to the parents or guardians of students not succeeding academically and offering support.
Parental involvement in a child's education can be pivotal in ensuring academic success, according to the California Department of Education. All schools that receive Title I federal funding in California are required to provide programs that involve parents in the education of their children. In Berkeley, every school except and receives Title I funding from the U.S. Department of Education for having a low-income student population above 40 percent.
The disconnect between parents and schools can sometimes be a problem. Language or cultural barriers, in addition to communication difficulties, can leave parents uninformed and unaware of their child's needs and the resources available.
Research suggests that these home-school support workers or "parent liaisons" can help improve academic performance, reduce drop-out rates and increase the involvement of non-English-speaking families and families with special needs.
The district is seeking feedback on the parent-liaison program, and asking the community to provide input on ways to improve parent outreach and engagement. Further information about the parent-liaison program can be found on the district's website here.
To share your thoughts, send an email to Mayahernandez@berkeley.net, call the Office of Educational Services at (510) 644-6257, or attend the presentation being held at at 6 p.m. on Dec. 13.
Do you think parent-liaisons are a good idea? How can parent outreach and engagement be improved in Berkeley schools? What has your experience as a parent or teacher been, connecting homes to schools? Share your thoughts in the comments.