Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Calling all Families and Educators! Parent and Community Forum on the Providence Public Schools, March 19, 9:30am

On Saturday, March 19 (this coming Saturday!) from 9:30am-noon, please take a couple of hours to join parents, family members, young people, educators, and concerned citizens across Providence to participate in a Parent and Community Forum on the Providence Public Schools.

The Forum will take place at the John Hope Settlement House, located at 7 Thomas P. Whitten Way (off Westminster St.) in Providence. If you're driving, enter front parking lot off Westminster Street or back parking lot via Thomas P. Whitten Way.

The forum is sponsored by the Providence Public Schools Parents Advisory Council (known as the PAC, of which I am a proud member and of which I will say a bit more below) and BetterProvidence (with which it has been a delight to collaborate).

Parents and community members will identify and discuss our education priorities, and how can we be better engaged in our schools and partner with our schools and the School Department to improve the quality of education for our kids. We're planning on facilitated discussion in small groups, and what people share really matters. Your voice will be heard!

In addition, Providence Mayor Angel Taveras will outline his education agenda and priorities for Providence public schools and Superintendent Brady will provide the most updated information from the Providence Public School Department.

The Parent and Community Forum is free and open to all. Spanish and Hmong translation services, refreshments, and free child care will be provided. Please call in advance to reserve childcare: 401-456-0686

For further information, please contact ProvidencePAC@gmail.com or the PPSD Office of Family and Community Engagement at 401-456-0686 - or ask me here and I'll find out what you need to know. If you click on the flier in the upper right, you can grab copies of it for yourself. Please help spread the word!

As you can tell, I am excited about this event. In early March, when the impact of the city's financial crisis became know, the PAC leadership gathered to act on the foundation we've been building for some time to create strong connections among families with students in the public schools across Providence. The PAC meets monthly with representatives from many (should be all, but isn't now) schools in Providence. One of our members, Robin Adams, was instrumental in pulling together a meeting of parents statewide earlier this year to hear from and ask questions of RIDE Commissioner Deborah Gist about Race to the Top funds and parent involvement.

This meeting will be our first focused on Providence itself, the first effort by parents for parents that we're aware of recently, and we see it as an important moment. We're eager to use the strength and energy of those who show up to form a strong citywide coalition of families. We won't always agree, but we can work across difference, find what we have in common, and speak clearly as one to stand for the best interests of all of our kids.

This is not limited at all to families, of course. We also hope that teachers and high school students -- who thus far have been better organized than families in this city -- will join us.

Please help spread the word, and if you have any questions or comments, please share them below or with me in email. Use the ProvidencePAC@gmail.com address - I'll be checking it.

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