Topping their list is a centralized Parent Advocate office and website for their concerns, they told board members of the Early Childhood Education and Parent Engagement Committee on Tuesday. Other recommendations include involving parents in every principal search committee and providing resources and training.
One simple thing for the district to do is apologize to parents. “Apologizing for mistakes is actually evidence-based and reduces litigation,” said Kathy Kantner, a member of the Community Advisory Committee who spoke Tuesday.
School board member Ref Rodriguez, the committee’s chairman, said, “I’m very excited about this report, this is something we’ve been building up to.”
The biggest problem for parents is trying to figure out how to address grievances because there are so many avenues when dealing with the district’s downtown Beaudry headquarters. The various parent groups formed a study group that spanned all of the Local Districts and came up with suggestions, including:
• Establish an Office of the Parent Advocate with a website and telephone helpline that the parents suggest could be funded by the mayor’s office or LA County Office of Education.
• Hire and train administrators to be service leaders who have positive attitudes toward parental involvement in schools.
• Continue working to engage “everyday parents” but acknowledge and appreciate parent leaders, and perhaps designate them as Parent Ambassadors with different-colored volunteer badges.
• Share power in major decision making, budgets and other committees.
• Provide resources and training to parents when they are on campus at new family orientations, open houses and other events.
• Improve the handling of the use of Disruptive Persons Letters which the district gives to parents who create problems on campus and have their access to the school limited.
“We all know there are people who are struggling with mental issues and substance abuse, but too often these DPLs are given because of a power struggle with parents,” said Kantner.