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CMSD parents receive tips for getting peers involved

CMSD is helping parents get other parents involved at their schools.

Marsha Greenfeld of the National Network of Partnership Schools conducted training Thursday for about 50 parents from 13 schools. The network is part of Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore and helps schools, districts, states and organizations build parent and community involvement. As a member, CMSD receives free help.

The parents, who met at the Boys and Girls Club in the Slavic Village area, will produce action plans for the 2014-15 school year.
They pondered strategies Thursday. Greenfeld, their facilitator, highlighted possible steps, such as organizing parent support groups, holding community forums and connecting teachers with parents through “good news” postcards or emails. 
“It takes time setting these things up,” said Greenfeld, who taught in the Baltimore schools for 30 years. “But the benefits are worthwhile.”

George Beard is vice president of the Student Parent Organization at Mary M. Bethune PreK-8 School. Beard, 44, attended the school and recalls how active his mother was there.

Meetings at Bethune typically draw five to 10 parents, said Beard. He would like to increase that to 20 to 40.

“It’s important for us to be involved in our kids’ education,” Beard said. “I realize I have an obligation to give back.”

Greenfeld told the parents that they have to be determined.

“Unless someone like you cares an awful lot,” she said, “things will never get better.”

Besides Bethune, the meeting drew parents from Lincoln-West High School and the following elementary schools: Mary B. Martin, Anton Grdina, Mound STEM, Fullerton, Case, Marion-Sterling, Luis Munoz Marin, Kenneth W. Clement Boys’ Leadership Academy, Paul L. Dunbar, Paul Revere and Nathan Hale.
Future rounds of training will take in other schools, said Richaun Bunton, program manager for the CMSD Office of Family and Community Engagement.