This month's focus: Family Leadership in Education
"Effective family engagement is based on respect and a shared goal of academic success for every child. Effectiveness depends on the meaningful integration of community members and parents into the decision-making processes of schools." - Dr. María "Cuca" Robledo Montecel, IDRA President and CEO
This issue of the IDRA Newsletter has stories on IDRA's Education CAFE model (the next generation of our Comunitario model), which is a structure for families transforming schools in their communities; preventing and addressing cyberbullying; and how to use actionable education data to strengthen your school.
Family Leadership in Education
IDRA Education CAFE -
A Structure for Families Transforming Schools in their Communities
by Aurelio M. Montemayor, M.Ed.
With a new grant from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, IDRA is creating a Texas Education CAFE Network that will reach multiple regions of the state. This network will inform public education policies and practices related to implementation of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). The targeted communities are in Dallas-Fort Worth, El Paso, Houston, and the Coastal Bend region around Corpus Christi.
Education CAFE (Community Action Forum for Excellence) is a parent group that is rooted in a community-based organization, rather than in a single school. Its sole purpose is to collaborate with schools to improve the success of students in the community. With the new W.K. Kellogg Foundation funding, this empirical model developed by IDRA will be taken to these four geographic areas with urban populations of varied ethnic backgrounds and economic classes.
IDRA's Family Leadership in Education principles assert that families are the strongest long-term advocates for quality public education. When families are treated with the dignity and respect they deserve, their leadership can lead to transformational change that benefits all children.
This article outlines the progression of IDRA's Comunitarios and the next generation Education CAFEs
. - Keep reading
Preventing and Addressing Cyberbullying through Equitable State and Local Policies
by David Hinojosa, J.D.
As the use of social media and cell phones continues to expand and connect students more readily in important ways, so too does the rising threat of cyberbullying. Whether it concerns students "trolling" other students on Twitter because of their perceived gender, sending continuous text messages harassing a student because of their race, or posting repeated disparaging pictures implicating a student's religion or immigration status on Instagram, cyberbullying comes in many forms.
While reports vary on whether cyberbullying is increasing, a conservative estimate in the 2015 Youth Risk Behavior study by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention shows that one in six students is subjected to cyberbullying (MMWR, 2016).
Research shows that cyberbullying can increase the likelihood that bullied students use alcohol and drugs, skip school, receive poor grades, have lower self-esteem and experience health problems (www.stopbullying.gov). However, finding the right solution is not always easy. - Keep reading
How to Use Actionable Education Data to Strengthen Your School
by Christie L. Goodman, APR
We often hear that strong parent involvement makes schools better. But the perceptions of what "strong parent involvement" means vary widely from fundraising to volunteering in classrooms and serving on committees. IDRA's model emphasizes a different role that recognizes parents' ability to lead and partner with schools to improve the education they provide. This can best be seen in IDRA's Education CAFE model. An Education CAFE is a parent group that is rooted in a community-based organization rather than in a single school. And its sole purpose is to collaborate with schools to improve the success of students in the community.
A key element of the model is that groups of parents and community members examine data and then take action on a specific project. Every community is different, and the concerns of one are not necessarily the top concerns of another. So, it is critical that each project be identified and carried out by the community it affects.
Questions Families are Asking
Whether or not you are part of an Education CAFE, you can work with other people to see what is happening in your schools and how you can help make change where it is needed. You may enter this task because of an issue you have already seen, or you may not be sure the root of a problem or how many people it is affecting. So, the first step is to make a list of your questions and cluster them. - Keep reading
The Intercultural Development Research Association is an independent, non-profit organization. Our mission is to achieve equal educational opportunity for every child through strong public schools that prepare all students to access and succeed in college. IDRA strengthens and transforms public education by providing dynamic training; useful research, evaluation, and frameworks for action; timely policy analyses; and innovative materials and programs.
We are committed to the IDRA valuing philosophy, respecting the knowledge and skills of the individuals we work with and build on the strengths of the students and parents in their schools.