I just finished a twitter chat tonight with #OntCL talking about using social media to connect with parents and #Ptchat with Karen Dunkley talking about Parent Academy and the effective work that she does with parents in Philadelphia schools. After participating in the invigorating discussions I felt the need to resurrect a blog post about Aurelio Montemayor from the Intracultural Research Development Association on valued parent leaders. 140 characters was not enough to share an especially important message about parent leadership.
This is some of what I wrote:
When I first heard Aurelio Montemayor (2008) in his podcast about working with parents, I did not think that it would be so hard for the education community to embrace what appeared to me as plain common sense. Aurelio talks about valued parent leadership and how it benefits a school community. He describes a valued parent leader as a parent who gathers other parents together over coffee, leads by example, supports families and helps them understand how best to support their child’s learning. This kind of parent leader may not be the school council/PTO president, nevertheless, he/she adds a dimension to the school that builds communities and fosters good working relationships. Parents are routinely asked to volunteer, attend meetings, comment on what the school/school board is doing. Parent groups are also asked to lead other parents in their school with what I think is a misguided expectation that parents will some how turn into effective leaders, motivating other parents, managing meetings and supporting the school. There are pockets of good things happening through out the world but generally I don’t see a recognition of the need to develop a support system for encouraging parent leaders.
This is the podcast:
There were some good ideas shared in the chat that made me feel that we are moving forward but the question is still unanswered for me who will continue to motivate and support parents who are and who will become parent leaders in their school/community.