Parenting Networks in the Urban Educational Setting

In many urban school districts, there is a growing challenge to meet the success of students, especially when parents are not involved in the educational program. Often, when parents are questioned about their involvement, they simply indicate they do not know how or when to make an influence in the school district.

For this reason, school districts, especially those that are not performing well academically, should focus on the programs that are available to both students and their parents. Involving parents in community based programs, with their students, will provide for an improved academic program overall.

In an effort to build parent involvement, many schools are creating parenting networks, especially among the children whose parents may not speak English well. Within these types of programs, parents who are bilingual are chosen as mentoring parents and assigned to two or three other parents who may not speak English. In doing so, the school districts in these urban cities are creating a network to bond parents.

Once the parents are networked and bonded, the mentoring parents are charged with the responsibility of reaching out to their assigned families to provide guidance and encourage their involvement in school sponsored activities. Encouraging bilingual as well as non-English speaking parents to become involved in committee meetings, policy and procedure issues in the school district, or simply volunteering at the school their child attends, will make significant progress in the academic achievement of the students who attend the school. This is to say, when students feel as if their parents care, they become more motivated to succeed in school.

In addition to volunteering and becoming part of the policy and procedures community, the parenting network can build relationships and encourage the students’ parents in becoming involved in mentoring programs for the students. One such program, College Track, is a nonprofit community-based program, in California, that focuses on assisting the underprivileged students in acquiring access to higher education after high school. With parenting network programs, a similar nonprofit, community-based program could be started in your own school.

The key to successful academic programs in urban cities lies, in part, to the direct responsibility of the parents. While teachers and school administrators do their part to educate the students, it is the parents’ involvement that will motivate the students to continue to achieve and excel to the fullest potential. With a parenting network program, all student parents can create bonding relationships in which to empower the group to assist wit policy and procedure changes, improve committee and activity outcomes and even serve as mentors to the students.