The Education Innovator #15
Archived Information

The Education Innovator
 June 9, 2003 • Number 15
 Share this page Share this page
  Past issues
What's inside...
Rhode Island Parent Information Network
What's New
Parental Information and Resource Center (PIRC) grant competition is now open; webcast on how to apply for a PIRC grant is available; and the Department will televise a program on education technology.
Innovations in the News
California legislation designed to keep charter schools in check also may be choking the development of new institutions; as well as information on virtual schools, school improvement, and parental involvement.

Rhode Island Parent Information Network Is a Partner in Implementing No Child Left Behind
Founded in 1997, the Rhode Island Parent Information Network (RIPIN) provides information, education, training, and assistance to parents, and works with families, schools, and providers to create strategies for behavioral and academic success. It aims to help families build stronger community relationships to support their children's growth and development.

The RIPIN PIRC program initially focused on creating a statewide network of referral services for parents and professionals; information and technical assistance; and parent education and training specifically utilizing both the Parents as Teachers Program and the Home Instruction Program for Preschool Youngsters. Subsequently, the RIPIN PIRC has expanded efforts to focus on collaboration with low-performing and Title I schools and, in particular, to expand its work into the city of Providence as well as rural areas of Rhode Island. Activities undertaken by the RIPIN PIRC include the development and expansion of home-school partnerships and the development of training programs, materials, and website resources to inform parents about educational issues.

Major objectives of the RIPIN PIRC include:

  • Implementation of effective parental involvement strategies that will lead to improvements in student achievement;
  • Implementation of activities designed to raise parents' awareness of education issues;
  • Implementation of early childhood parental involvement activities designed to enhance children's development and school readiness; and
  • Developing and strengthening partnerships between parents and schools to better meet the educational needs of children and, in particular, to improve literacy and prevent violence.
Recently, RIPIN has embraced its role in helping parents and teachers understand the benefits of the No Child Left Behind Act through its federal grant. RIPIN PIRC staff members have attended training in Baltimore and Washington and are working with the Rhode Island Department of Education and the Rhode Island Teaching and Learning Center to create an implementation plan that will assist schools in fulfilling the mandates of No Child Left Behind Act.

The organization has developed a chart of pointers—called "Talking Points"—that briefly explains different No Child Left Behind requirements and identifies things that teachers and parent leaders can do to implement the Act. For example, NCLB says that parents of children in schools that are not making adequate yearly progress must be offered the option of transferring their children to better performing schools and must be offered supplemental educational services if they need them. The "Talking Points" suggest that

teachers can

  • encourage the district to create a brochure for every school to explain its programs, test scores, and plans for the future;
  • help develop and conduct a town hall meeting to explain school test scores and parent options; or
  • encourage parent-classroom visitations to help parents decide about school choice and supplemental services; and
parent leaders can

  • develop and present workshops for parents on choice or
  • help schools develop website information on supplemental service providers.
You can download the complete chart of "Talking Points About Parent Involvement in Schools," with additional tips, at Rhode Island Parent Information Network.

RIPIN is funded through a Parental Information and Resource Center Grant administered by the Office of Innovation and Improvement. For more information, please go to For information about the Parental Information and Resource Center program, see


What's New
From OII

A webcast with technical assistance on how to apply for a Parental Information and Resource Center program grant is available at (For more information, on the grant competition, please see below). The webcast explains the grant program and gives tips for writing the application, with special emphasis on helping the novice grant applicant. The webcast is a joint project of the Office of Innovation and Improvement and the Center for Faith-Based and Community Initiatives.


The next broadcast of the U.S. Department of Education's television program, Education News Parents Can Use, will be on June 17. The topic for the program is educational technology. For instructions on how to view this program, go to

Funding Opportunities

The grant competition for the Parental Information and Resource Center program was announced in the Federal Register on June 3rd. The competition is open to nonprofit agencies, including faith-based and community organizations, or consortia of nonprofit agencies and school districts (though not school districts alone). These centers will, among other things, inform the parents of children who attend schools needing improvement about their options. The competition closes July 18, 2003. For more information, see

The Advanced Placement Incentives grant competition remains open. The applications for this program are due July 3, 2003. Incentive program grants are awarded to State educational agencies, local educational agencies, including charter schools that are LEAs, or national nonprofit educational entities to expand access to rigorous coursework for low-income students in grades 6-12. Funding will be used to prepare these students for success in Advanced Placement and International Baccalaureate programs. For information on how to apply, go to

The Advanced Placement Test Fee grant competition is also open. The deadline for applications is June 30, 2003. Grants are awarded to State educational agencies to cover part or all of the cost of Advanced Placement and International Baccalaureate test fees for low-income students. For information on how to apply, go to

The grant competitions for Models in Arts Education and Professional Development for Arts Education are still open. The deadline for both competitions is July 10, 2003. Grants will be awarded to local education agencies, including charter schools that are LEAs, that collaborate with at least one of the following: an institution of higher education; a state education agency; or a public or private nonprofit agency with a history of providing high quality professional development to public schools. For more information about these competitions, see and

The Teaching American History grant competition remains open, as well. The deadline is July 7, 2003. The competition is open to local education agencies (LEAs), including charter schools that are LEAs, in partnership with nonprofit history or humanities organizations. For information about how to apply, go to For a webcast with information about preparing the grant application package, go to


The next Innovations in Education Exchange will be on July 10th at 2 P.M. at the White House. The topic for discussion will be Teaching American History. More information will be forthcoming.


Innovations in the News

Charter Schools
California legislation designed to keep charter schools in check also may be choking the development of new institutions. [More-Los Angeles Times] (June 1)

Parents are pleased with the progress of their children at the Mariposa Academy of Language and Learning, the only charter school in Nevada where English and Spanish are taught to elementary school students. [More-Reno Gazette Journal] (May 27)

Virtual Schools
Reformers around the country have found new ways to motivate teens and they are inspiring others to break the mold by creating alternative schools. These alternatives include virtual high schools where all classes are online and "theme" schools based on environmental issues or the health-care profession. [More-Newsweek] (May 28)

School Improvement
A New Jersey program launched yesterday will help combat "senioritis." About 100 schools are expected to take part in the program that allows seniors to take college courses or work in internships instead of the usual class work. [More-The New Jersey Star-Ledger] (May 28)

Parental Involvement
Virginia and Maryland school districts are developing innovative programs—from culturally specific booklets in Montgomery County to breakfast gatherings in Arlington—to encourage immigrants to take an active role in their children's education. [More-The Washington Post] (May 28)


Print this page Printable view Bookmark  and Share
Last Modified: 04/26/2011