More than 800 parents and family members of Trenton public school students attended a recent conference, sponsored in part by ETS that sought to encourage and empower family involvement in their children’s education. The “Transforming Our Schools Together Parent and Family Conference” brought together school district officials, parent groups, civic organizations, community groups, faith-based organizations and parent advocates.
As part of the day’s events, parents were invited to attend workshops on a wide range of subjects, such as how to engage their child in literacy activities at home, reading strategies for children in a range of different grades, understanding the teen brain, how to apply to college, bilingual education, anti-bullying and prevention programs, and why math matters.
Parents who attended also received more than 1,000 backpacks filled with school supplies, including approximately 200 donated by ETS employees during ETS’s August back-to-school drive.
Parental involvement is critical to a child’s education, Trenton School Superintendent Francisco Durán told conference guests. “There are some in our community who don’t care if our children fail, but they are not here today,” he said.
“We are here for you, to connect parents to resources that will empower you to become more engaged in your child’s education. Parents and families need to become comfortable with being part of their children’s education, they need to be educated about it and support their child’s learning at home,” he continued.
Lenora Green, Senior Director of ETS’s Center for Advocacy and Philanthropy spoke during the opening session about ETS’s mission, its focus on education, the ways in which ETS supports the Trenton Public Schools, and the importance of parents in the formula for creating successful students. Trenton Mayor Eric Jackson was a surprise guest and spoke of his vision for Trenton, rooted in his experience growing up there.
Another speaker was Lupita Colmenero, founder and President of the Board of Parents Step Ahead, a Dallas, Texas, organization that seeks to encourage parents to participate in their children’s education. She noted that ETS has helped her organization develop a new outreach program consisting of teachers and administrators serving as “ambassadors” who engage parents who have never participated in their child’s school activities or visited their schools.
“ETS has supported our initiative of parental involvement through their generous contributions to our school-based programs, which we have been able to expand to San Antonio, establishment of our Teacher Ambassador initiative, and assistance in analyzing data collected from program participants,” Colmenero said. “We are excited about the potential to bring our program to Trenton.”
In addition to ETS, other event sponsors included the Trenton Public School District, the New Jersey Education Association, the Trenton NAACP, the Trenton United Parents Advocacy Council, and the district-wide PTA/PTO.