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Education Lab Blog

Education Lab is a project to spark meaningful conversations about education solutions in the Pacific Northwest.

September 8, 2014 at 11:50 AM

In-school parent volunteers will aim far beyond bake sales

Logan Square parent mentor Mayra Guzman helps second-grade student Jeremiah Castro with reading at Avondale Elementary School in Chicago. Photo by Mike Siegel / The Seattle Times 2013.

Logan Square parent mentor Mayra Guzman helps second-grade student Jeremiah Castro with reading at Avondale Elementary School in Chicago. Photo by Mike Siegel / The Seattle Times 2013.

Two Seattle schools will get a boost this fall from a corps of parents inspired by a long-running Chicago program that has improved student outcomes  particularly around motivation.

In 2013, Education Lab spotlighted a parent mentor program in the Logan Square neighborhood of Chicago that has, in its 20-year history, recruited, trained and vaulted nearly 2,000 low-income parent volunteers into Chicago classrooms.

Many say the program has been life-changing  both for them and their children. Some have gone on to become certified teachers.

A Seattle group called Community & Parents for Public Schools, which has long admired the Logan Square effort, recently won two grants totaling $65,000 from the Bill & Melinda Gates and Satterberg Foundations. The money will cover training and stipends of $500-$600 for an initial group of 20 volunteers, said Stephanie Alter Jones, executive director of the group, who hopes to stretch the money over two years.

The first group of 10 parents will go to work in the Dearborn Park International School later this fall. Alter Jones said she is working with several principals to pinpoint a second site.

“We’re choosing schools that don’t have a real high level of parent engagement, and we’re looking for a different kind of engagement,” she said. “Less helping in the lunch room and more helping in the classroom.”

Disclosure: The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is a sponsor of The Seattle Times’ Education Lab.

Comments | More in News | Topics: Logan Square, parent engagement

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