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School Board Creates New Parent Partnership Committee

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School Board Creates New Parent Partnership Committee
Posted on 08/17/2016
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The Portland Board of Public Education voted Aug. 16 to approve a resolution to create a Parent Partnership Policy Ad Hoc Committee. The new committee will review and revise the district’s current Parent Involvement Policy, using the Parent & Family Engagement Manifesto as a guide. The manifesto, developed by Portland Empowered, is a document that outlines how the Portland Public Schools can enhance engagement with parents and families.

The board held a first reading and workshop on the manifesto on Aug. 2. The creation of the new Parent Partnership Policy Ad Hoc Committee is an effort by the board to respond to the manifesto.

The document was developed by Portland Empowered, a project of the University of Southern Maine Muskie School of Public Service that works as a community partner, championing parent voice to improve educational outcomes for students. Portland Empowered has been engaged in a multiyear comprehensive family engagement process to collect parent perspectives on family participation in schools. The manifesto outlines the ways families need and want to be engaged in the schools.

The manifesto calls for the Portland Public Schools to engage families and the community in a way that “values face-to-face relationships; creates safe spaces where everyone is welcome and valued as an expert; requires parents, schools and communities to work together to improve results; works hard to include the whole range of voices in decision-making processes; is accessible to parent and community leaders from diverse backgrounds; and has sufficient resources devoted to it.”

The new Parent Partnership Policy Ad Hoc Committee will review and revise the district’s current Parent Involvement Policy and recommend a Parent Partnership Policy to the board by Nov. 30, 2016. The new ad hoc committee is directed to prioritize integrating elements of the manifesto into the revised policy.

The new committee will have up to eight members appointed by the superintendent no later than two weeks after the adoption of the resolution. The members will include a parent and representatives of district administration, the school board, school-based staff and Portland Empowered.