Local communities planned for a brighter future at the Parents as Allies Sustainability Workshop

Story by Dr. Eyal Bergman, Learning Heroes senior vice president. Photos from the Sept. 13 Parents as Allies Sustainability Workshop by Ben Filio.

These are just a few quotes from district leaders who attended the Parents as Allies Sustainability Workshop on Sept. 13.

The purpose of our workshop was to take stock of the past few years, and to build a sustainability plan based on the learnings that can help keep up the momentum this school year. And in true Parents as Allies (PAA) style, the venue was beautiful, the conversations were rich, and the enthusiasm was infectious!

parents as allies

Learning Heroes facilitated the workshop, pulling on the combined experiences of Brandon Pinkney’s school-level leadership, my central office leadership, and our shared experience leading Learning Heroes’ Family Engagement Leadership Institute. We shared research and examples of best practice that addressed some key questions that we’ve heard from participants as the PAA experience winds down.

Participants especially appreciated the practical examples, such as Brandon’s presentation on his school’s master schedule that includes teacher time for Family Office Hours.

Parents as Allies

We also facilitated a parent panel to bring in the voices of families into the long-term planning. A number of participants reflected that it was not only important to hear from families, but the experience also modeled a way to bring parent voices into spaces that traditionally don’t include them, like staff meetings.

But the most important activity of the day was the time to support one another. At one point, school co-leads were paired up so they could share their ideas and get feedback before they refined their plans. Then, toward the end of the session, they all got 30 minutes to finish their plans for the year.

Parents as Allies

It was a wonderful way to close out the Parents as Allies experience! For Team Learning Heroes, it was long overdue — after many zoom meetings, webinars, presentations, and one-on-ones with co-leads, it was refreshing and rejuvenating to be together in person.

parents as allies

We’ve absolutely loved our Parents as Allies experience. We’re rooting for all those plans to flourish, and we can’t wait to see what comes next.

Parents as Allies is a family-school engagement project with participation from 28 school districts across southwestern Pennsylvania. Teams of parents, teachers and school leaders are sharing, collaborating and experimenting with new family-school engagement ideas leading to deeper trust and conversations around the purpose of school. This project is led by Kidsburgh and supported by The Grable Foundation. Partners of Parents as Allies include Learning HeroesThe Brookings Institution and HundrED.