Ensuring quality, collaboration, and equity in education requires involvement from multiple constituencies. Most efforts are focused on students, teachers, and administrators, but it’s critical that authentic and active parent engagement not be overlooked or minimized.
Parents Supporting Educational Excellence (Parents SEE) is a 13-session training program focused on parent leadership in education. It was created by the Partners for Educational Leadership and the Connecticut Commission on Children to provide parents, grandparents, and guardians with the skills, tools, and understandings they need to become leaders, change agents, and active partners in education. Parents SEE facilitates partnerships with district and school personnel to address inequities, improve schools and community engagement, and increase student achievement.
Parents SEE draws not only on the success of increasing civic parent leadership, but also on research dedicated to improving outcomes for children. Large-scale instructional improvement on behalf of equitable experiences and outcomes. Districts benefit from this strategy of mobilizing political will and parent and community support to ensure sustained improvements in teaching and learning.
Components of Parents SEE
The program is built around five themes: Equity, Leadership, Partnering, Change, and Educational Policies and Practices.
- Equity in education and why is it essential to each and every student’s success;
- What effective schools look like;
- How and why schools change;
- How a school district functions;
- Parent roles in ensuring equity and high quality teaching and learning;
- Why some children succeed and others don’t;
- What improvements are needed in schools; and
- What it means to be a parent leader in education.
Participants acquire knowledge, engage in dialogue that encourages understanding of diverse viewpoints and experiences, and practice the skills needed to effect constructive change and improve achievement for all children.
Since it officially launched in 2008, the Partners for Educational Leadership (with the support first of the CT Commission on Children and now the CT Commission on Women, Children and Seniors) has administered and coordinated Parents SEE trainings across Connecticut. This includes recruiting, training, and supporting facilitators, assisting local coordinators, and ensuring high-quality programming with regular visits to every site. Several community organizations and/or school districts provide the funding to offer Parents SEE to 15 to 20 participants locally each year, now in one of three formats: virtually, in-person, as a hybrid (in-person and virtually). Twenty-four communities have offered Parents SEE training, many of them multiple times, and there are now over 1000 Parents SEE graduates.