Parent Coordinator Alliance Network: Sustaining Partnerships

PCAN Logo002

The new faces of families requires new perspectives, broadened mindsets, cultural competence, compassion, effective communication, and the all encompassing respect for diversity. Above all else, there must be a solid belief in the value, strength and influence of families upon their child’s growth and development. Academic achievement is best facilitated with actively involved, and genuinely respected parents. The group, whose logo is pictured above, Parent Coordinator Alliance Network[PCAN], on LinkedIn is determined to be the best forum for professionals who work with families.

We want and need families to serve as allies with educators, the learning process and informed advocates for their children in partnership with schools. That is so important in a world where so many disparities exist in areas surrounding education, schools, learning and achievement of children. It really is about strengthening our nation as we begin to strengthen families, with particular attention paid to the traditionally ‘marginalized’ populations.

So should we believe that we are serving ourselves well by sweeping race and other issues under the rug, the rug remains soiled. We must clean house for the house is our own, and it is the world and society at large. Let’s talk and make ourselves accountable for what we can and are doing to change narratives.  PCAN is not only about building capacity among families, and enhancing academic achievement of their children at school. It also is about building our own capacity, supporting and strengthening practices and improving our efficacy as professionals, to  support family functioning, health and wellness. It is also a global movement of global importance!

Global connectedness is increased transparency. As we watch the world, the world also watches us. What will they see? What do they see?

TO CONTINUE TO “TALK THE TALK” OF DEMOCRACY, OPPORTUNITY, EQUALITY, AND HUMAN RIGHTS, THEN WE MUST  ALSO “WALK THAT WALK”.

AND…

If education is to be considered the great ‘equalizer’ in society, then it must be promoted, communicated and exhibited by school professionals. My sincere desire is to help open the floodgates to allow a productive and natural flow of all human-related discussions, covering ‘difficult’ topics  collectively. Societal changes can only come about when we swallow our guilt, anger, resentments, and fears about one another and what it means to be considered and treated equally. Merit alone should be the measuring tape by which a person is regarded. The mistakes in our historical  ‘national’ past, misperceptions, negative experiences, maltreatment, human bondage included, were not US.

This was not our doing, we weren’t there-but we are here now. We can vow to do better, be better, treat each other better, and become a better nation TODAY. Those individuals are long gone, but their laws and policies, as well as the sanctioned and upheld practices of yesteryear, necessitates meaningful dialogue to be properly addressed TODAY!

So, let’s talk and actively listen to one another!

It can only get better! For now though, at the very least, we can engage in solution focused strategic alliances to strengthen families along the way…one family at a time!

Group url: http://www.linkedin.com/groups/8182622

Join the conversation!

Comments are so very welcomed by all!

Help With NYC 2016-2017 Kindergarten Applications

 

There is still time to apply to kindergarten for the 2016-2017 school year and we want to share some helpful tips as you choose schools to list on your application. Applications are accepted through January 15, 2016. You can update your application until January 15 if you have already submitted.

Here is how the school pages in the 2016 Kindergarten Directory can help you learn about your zoned school and other program options.

1. School Type: Understand your student’s priority level—see whether the school is zoned, non-zoned, or in a choice district and look at their admissions priorities. This information will help you understand your student’s priority to attend that school.

2. Program Information: Prepare for the application—use the program name and code when you list a school on your application. Some schools have a dual language program option that has a different program code; list the school’s dual language program code as another choice on your application, if you are interested in that option.

3. Contact Information: Get answers to specific questions—reach school staff by phone or email. You can also attend a school tour or open house in person.

4. General Information: Know your student’s day-to-day experience—read a summary of how many students are enrolled, what grades they serve, and if the school shares a building.

5. School Performance and Quality Review Score: Review the academics—see the school’s English and Math proficiency results for 2014-2015 and their most recent Quality Review Scores.

6. ELL Programs: Learn about supplemental services—find out which English language development support services and programs a school currently offers.

7. Icons: Find out about specialized services—see if a school is Functionally Accessible. All schools offer Special Education and English Language Learner programs.

Please Note: Family Welcome Centers are closed December 24-January 1; some sites are accepting kindergarten applications December 28-30—visit the Family Welcome Centers page for a list. Over-the-phone application service is closed December 24-25 and December 31-January 1. You can always apply online.

If you have questions about Kindergarten Admissions, email us at ESEnrollment@schools.nyc.gov or call 718-935-2009.

Historical Significance of “It takes a Village”

It may seem that this phrase, “It takes a village to raise a child”, was first coined by Hillary Clinton when she was our nation’s First Lady. Perhaps, for many of us this was the first time hearing this great proverb, particularly in reference to parenting children in America.

The truth is that this stroke of genius was neither conceived nor originated by Mrs. Clinton. There is great historical significance surrounding this phrase/proverb….African significance!

The idea that “it takes a village to raise a child” permeates African cultures and it speaks the same message in different languages across the continent. In Igboland, where the proverb assumes great significance in placing the child at the center of communal life (ofu onye adiro azu nwa – one person does not raise a child), the idea of “single parent’ is oxymoronic. Even as a ‘single’ parent, it is never alone that we raise our children. Influence and role models are everywhere.  The reference can be found at: http://www.africaresource.com/war/vol2.1…

Another source that will also tell you the origin is found here:http://www.h-net.msu.edu/~africa/threads/village.html

I remember when I was a teenager, growing up in the south. Though my city was progressive,  a ‘neighbor’ in your community meant something to everyone. For children,  that meant that should you be seen in the wrong place at the wrong time, or doing the wrong thing, your neighbors were like the mailman and an extension of your parents. There was communication between neighbors. The adults spoke to one another, watched out for one another, and their children too. This were given respect, as they were seen as authority figures, viewed by your family as well-meaning adults. They WERE family, too.

When I was in high school, I tried skipping school, hoping to be like one of the ‘cool’ kids, although I was an excellent student. I was inducted into the National Honor Society, and so I was given permission to drive the second car in the family, as my own. It was mine, in my eyes, since no one else drove it besides me.  One fateful day, as ‘cool’ as I thought I was, I made one fatal mistake. I was seen out of school during school hours by a neighbor. Well, that was it! By the time I got home that afternoon, the word had already been passed along to my house. My driving privileges were restricted and car keys were taken from me. Although they gave the car to me, I broke the rules of conduct. I paid for that mistake, and from then I knew. Never get caught![ and of course, never do it again]

That was a village approach, and that is so very important today to restore. So many youngsters who misbehave, get into trouble, disrespect adults, become gang affiliated, etc… need to know that there are consequences for their actions. They need a healthy sense of respect for adults and each other, and it is the adults who must make that  a reality.  I have seen others approach a mother with a parenting tip or some news about their child, in their best interest and it was not well received at all. It was  met with a retort or an insult like,” Mind your own business.” Not nice. Not nice at all, nor is it smart.

Parents need to believe that an adult living within their community means them no harm, and only means well. There must be trust between them, although you can’t trust blindly. When someone approaches one parent with news that pertains to their child, expect that it is well intended, and truthful. Maybe that’s why children are joined at the hip to their smartphones and engage in relationship-building predominantly through social media. The sense of connectedness among neighbors isn’t there anymore. What has happened?

It takes everyone working together to rear a child properly. That is where they can survive without bringing harm to the environment, themselves or others. They can be as self -reliant as their ability allows. They can be kind, compassionate, tolerant and respect differences. They can concentrate on the most important duty they have to themselves and their family. They can thrive, and become responsible, career minded adults who can form lasting wholesome relationships that lead them to become loving parents, themselves. The one responsibility of children, during their impressionable years, is to attend school, do their best to learn, achieve and realize their potential. To the outside world, children are largely a reflection of their parents. When a child is being disrespectful, has gotten into trouble of some sort, first question asked is: “Where are their parents?” Every parent wants their child to succeed, achieve in school and life as well adjusted, positive people.  Their job also is to make their parents, and themselves, proud.

Ultimately, if parents, religion, teachers pull one way and society(film media, radio, internet, peers, other adults) pulls another way it is pretty doubtful that a child will have much chance, for there will be too many gaps, disparities, and mixed messages received. It takes an extraordinary child to stand up to the waves of temptation today’s modern world offer. They need protection of caring adults who surround them in their daily lives. They need guidance from positive role models. They need everyone-you and me and the grocer down the street to help them navigate and make sense of the world. They need safe spaces to discover who they really are, and who they can be in their lifetime. hey need to know that they have a life ahead of them, a lifetime, beyond the age of 17, falling by a stray bullet. They need the absence of gun violence, discrimination, racism, and limits on life’s possibilities. It does take an entire village; AND….that’s  family, school, community engagement.

“All in!”

That is the whole child/whole family/whole village approach! Let us not forget that we are all in this together-sink or swimpipeline to prison or      pre-K to productive global citizenship!

What we do today will constitute our legacy for tomorrow! How do you think that we can restore order out of the chaos created or allowed in society today? Please feel free to leave comments.