Skip To ContentSkip To Content
    Family Connectors University Builds Capacity for Parents to Support Students’ Learning
    Posted on 11/20/2018
    A group of parents talk together around a table

    Family Connectors University Builds Capacity for Parents to Support Students’ Learning

    After all the students have left the building, and all trace of light has left the sky, parents gather in the library at Graham Hill Elementary School for an evening course. A bilingual instructor from North Seattle College leads the class in a presentation about preparedness for upcoming parent-teacher conferences. Instructor Lea Evans provides prompts for questions about students’ performance, “Ask ‘What does it look like to be on grade level?’ Suggest ‘Let’s discuss my students’ strengths and areas of growth.’”

    In Spanish, parents trade stories and ideas, and discuss the differences between their schools’ conference schedules. Parent Maria Jasso asks about opportunities for her middle school daughter to take advanced learning classes. She wonders what resources are available to increase academic rigor for her student.

    The class at Graham Hill Elementary is one of two being operated in the 2018-19 school year as part of Family Connectors University. Family Connectors University is a 10-week series of classes, offered through a collaborative effort of Seattle Public Schools and North Seattle College. The goal is to build capacity for families to navigate the school system, create a college-going culture, and support children’s academic excellence. After the completion of the course, parents receive two college credits at North Seattle College, which they can use to further their studies if they so choose.

    The other cohort is located at Northgate Elementary school. Co-led by a staff member from the district’s Family Partnerships department and an instructor from North Seattle College, courses are designed to build parent’s capacity to engage with their student’s learning.

    Anita Koyier-Mwamba, Seattle Public Schools family partnerships manager shares, “Our objective is to build capacity for families to continue to grow in ways that support student learning so that students can achieve their highest potential. It’s about getting parents to a place where they can be staunch advocates for their children, schools, and communities.”

    Two parents listen to a presentation in a classroomAs part of the curriculum, participants are encouraged to utilize their learning through an individual or collective project, so they can continue to build their capacity as parent leaders in the school. In years past, parents have completed projects around increased community voice, participated in building-level leadership teams, and gotten involved in their schools’ racial equity teams.

    Graham Hill Family Connectors student Maria Jasso has been involved in her children’s educational experience in one way or another since they were in preschool. A member of the Graham Hill’s PTA, she supported recruitment efforts for Family Connectors.

    “I like [Family Connectors University] very much. I like learning different ways of how to interact with teachers, especially talking about how to address concerns about my daughter.” Maria shares that through the courses, her confidence has increased in using the Source, an online tool for checking her child’s grades, schedule, homework, and progress monitoring.

    “Thanks to this workshop that’s provided me the strength to speak up for my children,” Maria says. Her goal is to continue advocacy work at the middle school level. In the future, she hopes to find additional opportunities to fulfill her community’s needs. “I hope to reach these goals and work hard for the community because we know our kids are the future. They are our representatives.” Seattle Public Schools values parents as partners in their students’ educational experiences. Family Connectors University enhances the district’s efforts to build strong family partnerships to improve student success and school culture.

    Learn more about Family Connectors University.

    Learn more about Family Partnerships Department.