SAN JOSE – California State PTA has received the inaugural Jan Harp Domene Diversity and Inclusion Award for its School Smarts parent engagement program.
The National PTA award honors a single PTA from throughout the nation for “doing remarkable work in the areas of diversity and inclusion.”
Beginning in 2010-11, California State PTA has partnered to offer the School Smarts parent engagement program at 21 elementary schools from four school districts during the past year: South San Francisco, Alameda, Chino Valley and Riverside.
More than 700 parents have graduated from the 7-session parent academies, and several thousand have participated in campus-wide parent engagement events.
Approximately 20 percent of the academy participants were fathers and over half of the parents enrolled spoke Spanish. School principals reported that the curriculum – which was developed by a team of parents and educators – has helped increase communication and collaboration between different groups at their sites.
"We've always envisioned School Smarts as a catalyst for fostering inclusion at school sites," said California State PTA President Carol Kocivar, "Our long-term objective is to help as many parents as possible feel comfortable and confident advocating on behalf of their children and all children, such as speaking up for a well-rounded education for every child that includes the arts and music."
“The School Smarts program has enabled us to be more confident in setting up a more conducive learning environment at home,” said Carlo Lacambra, a parent and academy graduate from Sunshine Gardens Elementary School in South San Francisco, “It was seven weeks well-spent with fellow parents who share a common concern on improving our children’s learning, on possibly improving the educational system with our ideas, and especially on improving ourselves as parents with our teacher hats on.”
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The California State PTA has nearly 1 million members throughout the state working on behalf of public school, children and families, with the motto, "every child, one voice." The PTA is the national's oldest, largest and highest profile volunteer association working to improve the education, health and welfare of all children and youth. The PTA also advocates at national, state and local levels for education and family issues. The PTA is nonprofit, nonsectarian and noncommercial. For more information: www.capta.org.