Parent Engagement Program at Frick Impact Academy

 In grantmaking, philanthropy, Youth Opportunity Scholarships

by Anita Brown, Program Officer

“Frick families are resilient, hardworking, and dedicated to rearing their children with the best education possible. Many of our parents and caregivers have returned to school themselves and are also holding down a job or working two jobs. It is inspiring to see parents and caregivers with such dedication and devotion to their child’s education and it is wonderful that we at Frick Impact Academy have the opportunity to provide a warm welcome to parents and caregivers.”

At the beginning of the 2017-2018 school year, PVF gave a discretionary grant to Frick Impact Academy to support the school’s Parent Engagement Program. We at PVF have developed a good relationship with the school and especially with Catherine Cotter, the middle school guidance counselor at Frick Impact Academy. She coordinates the Youth Opportunity Scholarships for the school as a YOS partner site. We were happy to support her leadership in implementing a new idea at her school.

Catherine Cotter, Valentina Vigil (College Adviser at Frick), and a few other staff members developed a Parent Engagement Program, which included:

  • “Coffee and Conversation,” monthly meetings with the Principal Ruby De Tie and weekly meetings with other school staff members;
  • monthly workshops (with food and childcare) addressing community needs, such as financial literacy, computer literacy, housing support, mental health, etc.;
  • a weekly English language class (with food and childcare) for parents and caregivers; and
  • a Parent Welcome Center providing brochures for local community resources.
IMG_2944 Frick Parent Engagement
IMG_1264 Frick Parent Engagement

At the end of the school year, Catherine reported that the “Coffee and Conversation” mornings allowed them to “increase engagement and communication with parents and caregivers in a meaningful way.” One of the monthly workshops was about summer programming, and families were able to learn about and sign up for opportunities for their kids, “decreasing summer learning loss for their children.” Also, through the English language class, “families had their English language skills improve and also developed a real connection to their children’s school, some for the first time.”

“All the family engagement projects funded by PVF this past school year were some of the most rewarding parts of my (and our) year,” said Catherine. “Being able to welcome parents and caregivers into the school and provide them with warm food and beverages was a gift.”

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