Engaging Parents in Education: Lessons From Five Parental Information And Resource Centers
June 2007
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PART II: The PIRCs' Role in Preparing and Supporting Parents And Educators to Take Action for Student Learning

With the exception of home visits aimed at reaching specific parents, the kind of information dissemination described in Part I tends to be a broad-brush effort to reach as many parents as possible. In contrast, the efforts described in this section tend to be more selective and more time- and resource-intensive, as is needed for activities designed to ready parents and educators for action rather than simply to inform them. Even recruiting participants, particularly parents who traditionally have not been involved and educators who might not view the need for parent involvement as a high priority, can be difficult and time-consuming. Providing a broad range of training to meet the needs of constituents across an entire state also is challenging and can be expensive. But as will be evident in this section, the highlighted PIRCs have found ways to successfully meet these challenges.

Because PIRCs have a broad mandate and operate with limited funding (and, therefore, some have only a few staff members), they tend to leverage their resources by working with and through other organizations for both recruitment and training. More and more frequently, PIRCs are taking a train-the-trainers approach in a variety of avenues, such as parent leadership training, liaison training, and site council training. They also have begun working with the staff of education agencies who, in turn, train targeted school and parent populations with which they are in close contact. PIRCs also expend resources carefully, trying to assess in advance the kinds of training and other preparation needed in particular schools and districts so they can plan their own efforts accordingly.

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Last Modified: 06/15/2009