Thursday, September 20

Liveblogging the City Council hearing: Martine Guerrier

Martine Guerrier's up and she sounds sincere. She says was concerned she would have to give up her role as a parent advocate when she took on her position as chief family engagement officer, but that hasn't been true. Instead, she says, she's convinced of the "sincerity on the part of the administration to change the tone" of interaction with parents. Of course, she has to say things are getting better, but her willingness to admit the flaws of the past — untimely and poorly explained information, parents having to travel to regional offices to get help, etc. — is refreshing and gives me hope that these flaws will be remediated.

Guerrier's talking about forging a "broader definition of parent engagement that goes beyond training and supporting parent coordinators." She's going to be holding parent nights all year to take discussion about schools to parents' homes, neighborhoods, and community organizations. Public forums will also be conducted in foreign languages.

The Office of Family Engagement and Advocacy has a broad range of responsibilities: training and overseeing parent coordinators, engaging Community Education Councils, managing translation and interpretation unit, making sure all schools have a functioning School Leadership Team (a fact that will factor into principals' grades — but by how much, I don't know).

Guerrier says the "relationship between schools and families is a key determinant in whether kids can take advantage" of resources provided by schools. Parents want more communication of academic progress -- short conferences not enough and some families only find out about kids' progress when there isn't any. That's where OFEA will collaborate with the office of accountability.

Next up: questions. Here's a taste:

Jackson: What is your opinion on parents? Are they full partners in their kids education?
Guerrier: Yes.

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