Everybody seems to agree that more parental involvement would go a long way toward improving outcomes in the Buffalo Public Schools.
But how to make that happen?
Well, Interim Superintendent Amber Dixon has signed off on a plan floated by the District Parent Coordinating Council that both the administration and the parent group seems to hope will be a step in the right direction.
The group has proposed calling a Parent Assembly -- a meeting with one parent representative from every classroom in the district, to be held a couple of times this year to disseminate key information to parents.
Principals have been asked to identify a specific parent rep for each classroom in their building.
"We want to have a mechanism where we can inform parents collectively about how we're moving forward to achieve the academic goals of the district," said Sam Radford, DPCC vice president. "Our role is to use Parent Assembly as a way to have a classroom parent every year whose responsibility is to disseminate information to all the parents in their room. We will put an infrastructure in place that gets parents engaged as a group."
One benefit, he said, is that creation of the Parent Assembly should help address some concerns that the DPCC is not representative of all parents in the district.
The first Parent Assembly is scheduled to convene on Dec. 8, with a second session eyed for April or May.
If every classroom rep shows up, that would be more than 1,200 parents in one place at one time, getting the same information from the district to bring back to their classrooms.
Radford said the hope is that the Parent Assembly will meet four times next year.
"We've got to stop complaining. It's our responsibility to make sure our kids are getting a quality education," he said. "If they're not, we've got to stop blaming people and roll up our sleeves."
- Mary Pasciak