Category: Parent Teacher Leadership Academy

PLA and TLA Hold First Joint Meeting of Academy Year

By Yiben Liu
CCBP Graduate Assistant

The University of Alabama’s Parent Leadership Academy and the Teacher Leadership Academy held a joint session at the Bryant Conference Center Thursday, Nov. 1. This was the first joint meeting of the Academy year where parents and teachers began the work of planning their school’s PTLA Partnership Projects. Each school’s project is collaboratively planned between parents and teachers and is based on an identified need from the school’s improvement plan.

Dr. Holly Morgan, CCBP community education and PTLA program director, welcomed attendees, thanking them for their effort and commitment to the students who will benefit from the program. Morgan also reviewed the first PTLA session, “Parents and Teachers as Leaders,” and reminded teams that their commitment was to initially grow themselves as leaders before building capacity in others.

The title of the second session of the PTLA Academy year was “Goal-Oriented School, Family, and Community Partnerships.” This session emphasized the elements needed for strong partnerships based on the current research available. Marsha Greenfeld, senior program facilitator of the National Network of Partnership Schools (NNPS) at Johns Hopkins University, was the guest speaker. She conducted a motivating workshop session titled: “You Matter and What You Do Matters: Partnerships Help Make the Difference!”

She stressed the significance and importance of building strong and enduring partnerships among schools, families and communities to ensure students’ success. “We have to make sure that everybody has a piece in it,” Greenfeld said. She also introduced the NNPS leadership model and discussed the qualities of leadership. Research shows partnerships are important because they enhance student learning and strengthen schools, she said.

The final portion of the evening was devoted to project planning for all school teams. Parents and teachers reviewed school improvement plans, discussed goals, and began the process of developing project descriptions and project action plans. Project proposals will be delivered at the final session of the Academy on March 7, 2019.

PTLA is a leadership program that provides selected parents and teachers with opportunities to develop their knowledge and abilities as leaders within their school communities. School principals select the participating parents.

UA’s Parent Teacher Leadership Academy Receives National Award for School, Family and Community Partnerships

Schools participating in at least one PTLA program area:

Alberta School of Performing Arts
Arcadia Elementary
Berry Elementary
Big Sandy Elementary
Brookwood Elementary
Brookwood Middle
Buhl Elementary
Central Elementary
Collins-Riverside Middle
Creek View Elementary
Crestmont Elementary
Davis-Emerson Middle
Duncanville Middle
Eastwood Middle
Faucett-Vestavia Elementary
Fayette Elementary
Fayette Middle
Hillcrest Middle
Holt Elementary
Lake View Elementary
Lamar County High/Intermediate
Livingston Junior
Martin Luther King Jr. Elementary
Matthews Elementary
Maxwell Elementary
Meadow View Elementary
Myrtlewood Elementary
Northington Elementary
Oakdale Elementary
Rock Quarry Elementary
Rock Quarry Middle
Sipsey Valley Middle
Skyland Elementary
Southview Elementary
Thompson Intermediate
Thompson Middle
Thompson Sixth Grade Center
Tuscaloosa Magnet Elementary
Tuscaloosa Magnet Middle
University Place Elementary
University Place Middle
Vance Elementary
Verner Elementary
Vernon Elementary
Walker Elementary
Westlawn Middle
Westwood Elementary
Woodland Forest Elementary
York West End Junior

TUSCALOOSA — A national network based at Johns Hopkins University has recognized a University of Alabama program for establishing successful community partnerships with area public schools.

The Parent Teacher Leadership Academy (PTLA) earned a national Partnership Organization Award for helping local schools develop “goal-oriented programs of family and community engagement,” according to an announcement from Johns Hopkins University’s National Network of Partnership Schools (NNPS).

“PTLA’s research-based approach is helping public schools in Alabama improve student attendance, behavior, achievement, health, graduation rates, and postsecondary plans,” according to Dr. Joyce L. Epstein, director of NNPS.

“This award is further recognition of the success of our ongoing community engagement strategy,” said Dr. Samory T. Pruitt, vice president of the Division of Community Affairs. “It provides evidence of the direct impact this program is having on one of the nation’s most important institutions, our public schools.”

Dr. Holly G. Morgan, director of Community Education for the Center for Community-Based Partnerships (CCBP), said, “The University of Alabama is privileged to work with such dedicated teachers and parents. We are seeing outstanding results in our major goals of strengthening student performance and motivation through the effective establishment and ongoing work of school, family, and community partnership teams. Parents and teachers have expressed that the Academy has not only fostered personal leadership growth but has enhanced communication at all levels throughout their schools.”  

Each year, classes prepare and execute special projects designed to improve the overall educational experience within the schools. In 2018, the 10th year of the program, a record 50 PTLA projects were conducted. Projects addressed key areas that parents and teachers developed to promote cooperation among community members, students, parents, teachers and school administration.

Member schools involved in PTLA total 49 from six different school systems — Tuscaloosa City, Tuscaloosa County, Alabaster City, Fayette County, Lamar County and Sumter County.

PTLA is a joint initiative of participating school systems, CCBP and UA’s Colleges of Education and Human Environmental Sciences. It utilizes research-based practices to provide professional development to parent and teacher leaders who use their knowledge to support student achievement through strong school, family and community partnerships. Selected parents and teachers are given opportunities to develop their knowledge and abilities as leaders within their school communities.

The program is divided into six program areas: Elementary Parent Leadership Academy, Elementary Teacher Leadership Academy, Middle School Parent Leadership Academy, Middle School Teacher Leadership Academy, Pre-K Parent Leadership Academy, and Hispanic Parent Leadership Academy.

Dr. Elizabeth K. Wilson, senior associate dean in the College of Education, and Dr. Blake Berryhill, family therapy program director in the College of Human Environmental Sciences, represent their respective colleges as PTLA faculty partners.

 

 

Parent Teacher Leadership Academy Celebrates Graduation and 10-Year Anniversary

By Sophia Xiong
CCBP Volunteer

Dr. Holly Morgan, director of community education at the Center for Community-Based Partnerships (CCBP), welcomed attendees. “Thank you, graduates, for your dedication, your collaboration, and your willingness to form partnerships that ultimately build community,” she said.

In recognizing the 10-year anniversary of PTLA, Morgan said, “Based upon needs expressed, the academy was formed with the goal of promoting parental engagement within the local schools. To this day, current members of the advisory committee continue to meet to provide insight and guidance to the current and future academy.” Thirteen founders and 10-year graduating class members attended the ceremony.

PTLA is a unique leadership program in that it provides both research-based professional development to parents and teachers, as well as a structure for application of that new knowledge. “Our mission, ‘Building Community by Supporting Children and Families,’ is one that not only states our purpose but also echoes our values—values that are mirrored by our university’s strategic plan as a community-engaged institution,” Morgan said.

Throughout the school year, parents and teachers collaborated to create projects that are aligned with one of their school’s improvement goals. This year, 50 projects are to be implemented in either spring or fall 2018. More than 20 of the projects had been implemented by the time the ceremony occurred.

“I truly believe the project I participated in as a part of the PTLA program has helped me grow — not only as a parent for my own son, but also as a parent within my son’s school, and even as a teacher myself,” said Vance Elementary Pre-K parent Latasha Hubbard, who has also been a 6th-grade teacher at Brookwood Middle School since 2004. Their project is P.H.A.T. Tuesdays (Parents Helping Accelerate Texts), which intends to increase students’ reading of non-fiction text. “I am very grateful to have had this experience and look forward to working with the teachers and parents at my son’s school during the 2018–2019 school year to implement the project.”

This year’s PTLA is the first time to include parents and teachers from middle schools and to expand the number of school districts from four to six. Rochelle Tolliver, a teacher at Livingston Jr. High School, helped her school create STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts, mathematics) Star Night, which aims to increase the involvement of parents, teachers and students through monthly meetings. Students and teachers will highlight various activities, projects and expertise that correlate with Alabama STEAM standards.

“We had a paint night, and it was a success,” Tolliver said. “We had approximately 60 parents and students attend. We are looking forward to continuing our relationship with PTLA.”

“Ten years ago, I said I was proud of this program for three reasons: the people, its purpose, and the potential,” said Dr. Samory T. Pruitt, vice president of UA’s Division of Community Affairs. “There were only 20 parents. We would have a way of planting trees that we may not be around to see the shade from, but we believed in what we were doing. And now there is a room of people that have passion about it. I think there is no doubt that the work of this group is going to impact a lot of children and their families.”

Members of the 2017–2018 graduating teacher class are:

Alabaster City Schools ­— Michelle Colburn, Rebecca Coulter, Rachael Gardner, Andrea Godsey, Holly D. Jackson, Suzanne Lee, Meagan Sharp, Elise Skelie, Sarah Turner and Katie Vanover.

Fayette County Schools — Natalyn Burkhalter, Jackie Dodd, Teri Killingsworth, Sarah Schuckert, Bailey Schultz and Heather Windle.

Lamar County Schools — Rachel Blaylock, Laura Bobbitt, Shelby Mann, Joanne Prater and Sandra Wheeler.

Sumter County Schools — Patricia Bohannon, Lawanda McVay, Nettie Robinson and Rochelle Tolliver.

Tuscaloosa City Schools — Shakera Blakley, Rachel Bryant, Khalia Burton, Nellie Christina, Amy Davis, Anna Ezell, Kelly Feith, Katrina Harris, Elizabeth Heath, Rebecca Henry, Rachel Hollingsworth, Kendra Hope, Ashley Jackson, Siedah Johnson, Calli Jones, Bryan Marchant, Patsy McGahey, Beth Murray, Hannah Moore, Linlee Morton, Benjamin Parish, LaTiffany Richardson, Nicholas Rose, Kimberly Shelton, Angela Taylor, Tiffany Taylor-Davis, Georgia Tidwell, Amy Vick, Angelia Washington-Nixon, Blake Wilson, Fran Wilson, Diane Winfree and Andrea Ziegler.

Tuscaloosa County Schools — Catherine Anderson, Kathryn Brandon, Tara Cobb, LaQuita Coleman, Joy Collins, Melissa Eastwood, Dana Fitzpatrick, Mishon Flanigan, Nina Graham, Morgan Grandolfo, Lindy Hamner, Shellye Hamner, Samantha Heath, Haley Herron, LaKida Hill, Olivia Hoffman, Holly Holloway, Kellie Hubbard, Timothy Junkins, Ronda Kimbrough, Mercedes Lawrence, Lacey Lee, Jennifer Manning, Beverly Parsons, Jeremy Perkins, Morgan Reeves, Ashley Rogers, Dana Roy, Chandria Shaw, Clay Shumate, Jordan Still, Shannon Thomas, Dominique Tortorice, Taylor Warren, Cayla Watts and Tracy Windle.

Members of the 2017–2018 graduating parent class are:

Alabaster City Schools — Cyndi Abercrombie, Amber Broadhead, Michel Coleman, Leigh Gofourth, Pati Gonzalez, Sonia Jones, Kourtney Lund, Taylor Nichols, Consuelo Rivera, Francie Ann Vono-Aldridge, Tracy Waldrip, Jenny Watts and Jamia Williams.

Fayette County Schools — Jennifer Baker, Donna Brown, Amanda Frost, Tracy Hollingsworth, Tori Scott and Jamie Thomas.

Lamar County Schools — Terri Berry and Tara Fields.

Sumter County Schools — Loretta Henderson, Clydesha Pearce and Alfreda Witherspoon.

Tuscaloosa City Schools — Katherine Andrews, Karla Avina, Yuping Bao, Tracie Bates, Kevin Besnoy, Missy Brazil, Tucker Brown, Quinetta Bryant, Lakeisha Clark, Sabrina Crummie, Marisa Davis, Cinthia Delgado-Rivera, Karmillia Eubanks, Matthew Gilbert, Crystal Grant, Amanda Grase, Elda Marleny Guatzin, Shamire Hatcher, Amparo Hernandez, Sarah Higgins, JaNet Hudson, Shan Jiang, Cathy Jones, Erika Jones, Tchalla Jones-Jerido, Brenda Jordan, Lakeedria Kennedy, Myesha Lanier, Juan Osorio, Laquetta Peoples, Linda Pontseele, Carolyn Roshell-Erby, Laura Skinner, Joy Spencer, Gwen Sudduth, Odis Waller, April Williams, Tracy Williams and Santita Word.

Tuscaloosa County Schools — Michael Bender, Lisa Bentley, Michelle Bentley, Ashley Binion, Molly Booth, Heather Cain, Federico Castillo, Violeta Castillo, Nikki Christian, Kristy Colo, Bridgett Cooper, Tiffine Daniels, Teshekia Dill, Catherine Durham, Alberta Erreguin, Shonetay Gardner, Caley Gill, Latasha Hubbard, Stephanie Kannas, Michelle Keasler, Angie Kowzan, Ashley Langley, Misty Lewis, Jennifer McDaniel, April McKinnis, Adrian Kasey Miller, Gwen Prewitt Mitchell, Nicole Mitchell, Keri Moon, Paula Mount, Vikki Norris, Martha Pettway, Misty Potter, Cristina Reyes, Tameka Ross, Bernice Sanders, Tameisha Springfield, Valentina Stakem, Janelle Strickland, Aleetha Sullivan, April Sullivan, Suzie Tingle, Deborah Trejo, Randy Tunnell, Maria Uruchurtu, William Vining and Shermita Whitfield.

 

Parent Leadership Academy Sessions Cover Safety and Health in Schools

By Joon Yea Lee
CCBP Graduate Assistant

 

The fifth PLA session of the school year focused on how to keep children from pre-kindergarten to middle school safe and healthy. Local community partners and selected University of Alabama’s faculty specialists shared their knowledge on diverse topics from healthy eating, cyber bullying to dealing with children with behavior issues. The sessions took place on Thursday, February 1 at UA’s Bryant Conference Center.

Dr. Holly Morgan, director of community education in the Center for Community-Based Partnerships, welcomed participating parents following dinner.

Each PLA sessions, divided by grades into four groups. Pre-Kindergarten Parent Leadership Academy (PKPLA), Elementary Parent Leadership Academy (EPLA), Hispanic Parent Leadership Academy (HPLA) and Middle School Parent Leadership Academy (MPLA) heard two presentations each addressing nutrition and safety of children in and out of schools. Here is a summary of the presentations:

  • PKPLA members heard from Caliste Chong, Early Care and Education Learning Collaborative (ECELC) project coordinator at the Alabama Partnership for Children (APC), on nurturing healthy eating. Dr. Kimberly Blitch, assistant professor of Human Development and Family Studies in the College of Human Environmental Sciences at UA, spoke during the second session on how to raise empathic children to prevent bullying in early childhood.
  • EPLA members learned about various perspectives on students with behavior issues from Dr. Sara McDaniel, UA associate professor in the Department of Special Education and Multiple Abilities and director of the Alabama Positive Behavior Support Office (APBSO). The second session was on drug culture in schools by Derek Osborn, executive director of Parents Resource Institute for Drug Education (PRIDE).
  • HPLA members were introduced to healthier activities and nutritional dining options that parents can consider from Julia Sosa, prenatal outreach coordinator for Whatley Health Services, Inc. Chris Jenks, director of technology for Tuscaloosa City Schools, shared insight on how parents can help their children to be an responsible digital citizen as well as how to protect children on the Internet.
  • MPLA sessions were focused on bullying offline and online. Greg Hurst, director of Student Services at Tuscaloosa County School System, explained how to recognized bullied children and what parents and school can do to resolve issues. Sergeant Jeff Judd from the Tuscaloosa County Sheriff’s Department represented School Resource Officers (SRO) and explained what SROs do and what parents can do to keep children safe in school as well as in cyber space as more children have access to smartphones and social media.

Addressing behavior and bullying in school, McDaniel introduced how all schools are required to have multi-tiered support systems as part of a national regulation. McDaniel said most schools are good in terms of having a “Response to Intervention (RtI)” multi-tiered support system in place, which is more reactive then focusing on preventive system like “Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS)” multi-tiered support system.

And while in many schools where RtI teams also meet to discuss PBIS plans in this type of multi-tiered support systems, Dr. McDaniel said, “In tier one PBIS team especially, there should be parent representatives working with the PBIS team. And all this information about the systems and framework should be available to the parents as well.”

Some features of a PBIS school-wide discipline plan include the following:

  1. Common & consistent approach
  2. Set of expected positive behaviors across environments
  3. Procedures for teaching expectations
  4. Continuum of procedures to encourage expected behaviors & discourage inappropriate behaviors
  5. On-going monitoring of the plans’ effectiveness

Among PBIS plans, McDaniel stressed the importance of keeping consistency in what is expected, required and encouraged in school and at home. In order to do so, parents should take proactive role in understanding classroom and school expectations and making sure their children also understand these expectations by practicing and making routines to follow both in school as well as at home.

McDaniel also emphasized that parents should be aware of administrative procedures when a child shows behavioral problems. But most importantly, parents should advocate for their child by being on the same page as the school and being firm and loving at home.

Reflecting today’s extensive use of smartphones and social media, both sessions for MPLA focused on bullying with the second session focusing on SROs and cyber bullying. Judd, representing SROs, explained that their duties not only include keeping the school grounds safe, but also include gathering information to detect potential spill-over of threats, drug activity and bullying by maintaining a vigilant watch and building relationships with the teaching staff and students.

Judd introduced the Tuscaloosa County Sheriff mobile app available for all mobile devices that can be used to access crime reports as well as submit an anonymous tip. Citing the National Center for Education Statistics that reported 28% of 12-18-year-old students having been bullied at school during the previous six months Judd said, “We are in the age of social media, so I came up with ‘See Something, Say Something’ campaign.” As part of the campaign, the sheriff’s department posted promotional banners at school events and sports games. Judd shared several examples where the sheriff’s office received anonymous tips that led the department to solve bullying, drug and domestic violence cases.

All participating MPLA members expressed concern regarding their children using smartphones and social media as they said they have checked their children’s phones at least once in the past month.

Molly Booth, Hillcrest Middle School parent, said having a child who owns a cell phone, the TCS free mobile app seems to be very useful. “I was not aware of the app but I will definitely download it.” Booth also added that “clarification on the code of conduct and the processes that are used for discipline in schools were helpful.”

For Carolyn Roshell-Erby, a parent from Eastwood Middle School, Judd reinforced what she had already known. “I realized there are more things that we need to bring in, not only to make parents become more aware, but to allow them the opportunity to find out that this is not just a group of children that may be a part of the problem,” said Roshell-Erby. “(I realized that) we expect our school to educate our children, but we as parents must also be a part of that educational process. That was very informative along with the fact that when it comes to discipline and the law… what alternatives the school systems are offering the children so that they still remain a part of the society and they can become productive.”

Following information sessions, PLA members met with their school groups to work on their PTLA project action plans in preparation for a poster presentation session that will be on Thursday, March 8.

PTLA 2018 Session Features Panel on Communication and Collaboration, Plus Discussion on Project Planning

By Yiben Liu
CCBP Graduate Assistant

The Parent Leadership Academy (PLA) and the Teacher Leadership Academy (TLA) of the Parent Teacher Leadership Academy (PTLA) had a joint session at the Bryant Conference Center on Thursday, January 18. It was their first collaborative session of the year 2018 and the second for the overall PTLA program.

Dr. James E. McLean, executive director of the Center for Community-Based Partnerships, gave the opening remarks and welcomed the participants back for the new year. Dr. Holly Morgan, CCBP community education director and PTLA program director, reported on previous PTLA sessions and acknowledged the great contribution made by PTLA partners and facilitators. “In our last session, parents and teachers began their study of effective communication and collaboration strategies and parents began to explore ways to also assist their children academically,” she said.

The joint session began with a panel discussion titled “Schools and Board of Education Relations: Effective Communication and Collaboration in Family, School and Community Partnerships.” School and district leaders shared their knowledge and expertise of building relationships among parents, teachers and school communities. They also answered questions from the audience about specific strategies, opportunities and challenges they had encountered.

Panelists included: Dr. Brenda Rickett, executive director for teaching and learning at Alabaster City Schools; Vic Herren, deputy superintendent of Fayette County Schools; Tramene Maye, principal of Livingston Junior High School in Sumter County Schools; Dr. Michael Daria, superintendent of Tuscaloosa City Schools; and Dr. Walter W. Davie, superintendent of the Tuscaloosa County School System.

The second part of the joint meeting was the PTLA partnership project planning session. Dr. Morgan gave the participants instructions on how to build project proposals and stressed several key factors such as goal description, timeline, and sustainability.

With seats designated based on school systems, parents and teachers from the same schools then began an enthusiastic discussion on project proposals. They will present their proposals during Session VI of the Academy.

Kimberly Shelton is a new teacher who just started her second year of teaching in The Alberta School of Performing Arts. Shelton said she had “learned a lot from the program” and there is “definitely a lot” that she can apply to her work. “I’ve learned not only about communicating with our parents but reaching out to them, and also having them understand that they can reach out to us as well. [The partnership] can really make a lot of things happen,” she said.

Jamia Williams is a parent participant from Thompson Middle School. She said that parents of middle school students usually don’t participate much, but the PTLA middle school sessions help them “to get involved and stay involved.” Williams also said that middle school students face special challenges as they are at the stage of figuring out who they are. The PTLA program really helps the teachers and parents to work together to guide the students through this critical stage of life “to where they need to be.”

Williams and her parent and teacher partners from Thompson Middle School are developing a project titled “Teen Wellness Night,” designed to help students recognize, handle, and recover from cyberbullying.

Speakers Stress the Importance of Leadership of Elementary and Middle School Parents at Parent Leadership Academy Sessions

By Yiben Liu
CCBP Graduate Assistant

UA’s Parent Leadership Academy (PLA) hosted two separate training sessions for elementary and middle school student parents at Bryant Conference Center on Thursday, October 19. Guest speakers focused on leadership development within parents and students for both elementary and middle school parents.

The guest speakers were Dr. Terri C. Boman, director of The University of Alabama/University of West Alabama In-Service Education Center, who spoke at combined Elementary, Hispanic, and Pre-K PLA. Her title was “Dare to Lead Your Family Differently.” Marvin Lucas, District 6 representative of the Tuscaloosa City Schools Board of Education, spoke about “Parents as Leaders: Building Leaders Within Your Schools” at both the Elementary PLA and the Middle School PLA. Andrew Maxey, director of special programs for Tuscaloosa City Schools, led a session titled “Becoming Leaders: Understanding the Adolescent Brain” for the middle school group.

Boman shared her experience and studies of building leaders in the school community, stressing that the little things parents do for their children every day are what make the difference.

Lucas stressed that to develop leadership in children, parents must first cultivate themselves into leaders. “Leaders are built by other leaders,” Lucas said. He also shared the national standards of the Parent Teacher Association for family-school partnerships, which he described as a new way of leading.

Maxey used scientific data and humor to illustrate why middle school is such a critical time developmentally but is usually underestimated by parents.

Dr. Holly Morgan, PTLA program director and UA director of Community Education for the Center for Community-Based Partnerships, also introduced and explained different types of PTLA partnership projects at both sessions.

Parent participant Jennifer McDaniel from Davis-Emerson Middle School said her experience in PLA so far “has been really good.” Her concerns were helping her children with homework and building better communication with the teachers related to homework. “It [PLA] gives us the outreach we need with the teachers,” McDaniel said.

Tchalla Jones-Jerido is a parent participant from Rock Quarry Middle School and mother of three children ranging in age from elementary school to high school. This is the second time she has participated in UA’s PLA program. The first time, she was in the elementary group. She said the middle school session helps her to develop different perspectives of parenting children at various levels. “Middle school [child] is a different animal,” she said, and she’s glad to see the new session “targeted specifically at middle school” because their needs “are totally different.”

Tucker Moss Brown, a Verner Elementary School mother, said the main goal of parents is to “raise your kid into a good, decent human being,” and parents need strong leadership to do that. “You are a leader in your family,” Brown said, and she thinks that is the specific significance of PLA and programs like it, which are developing leadership within both children and parents.

Parent Teacher Leadership Academy Groups Launch Fall Semester Activities

By Yiben Liu
CCBP Graduate Assistant

The Parent Leadership Academy and the Teacher Leadership Academy met jointly to open the fall semester of the Parent Teacher Leadership Academy (PTLA) at the Bryant Conference Center on Thursday, September 21. Marsha Greenfeld, senior program facilitator of National Network of Partnership Schools at Johns Hopkins University, was the guest speaker.

PTLA is a leadership program that provides selected parents and teachers with opportunities to develop their knowledge and abilities as leaders within their school communities. Each parent is selected for participation by their school’s principal.

Dr. James E. McLean, executive director for the Center for Community-Based Partnerships gave the welcome speech, thanking attendees for their commitment to those who benefit from the program. “I know you came here because you want the best for your children and your students,” he said.

During the 2017–2018 school year, teachers and parents in the program will attend sessions to acquire skills that will support student achievement through family/school partnerships. Topics will include Goal-Oriented School, Family and Community Partnerships, Teachers/Parents as Leaders, Collaboration and Communication, School and Board of Education Relations, and Supporting Safe, Healthy and Connected Schools/Communities.

Dr. Holly Morgan, CCBP community education and PTLA program director, said that it was a night of “many firsts.” Now in its 10th year, PTLA is launching the Middle School Academy, bringing parents and teachers from 17 middle schools into the program.

Additionally, two more school districts, Fayette County Schools and Sumter County Schools, have joined the program, bringing the total number to six. The other members are Tuscaloosa City Schools, Tuscaloosa County Schools. Alabaster City Schools and Lamar County Schools. The number of participants has also increased dramatically, from 90 last year to 227 this year.

Greenfeld conducted a motivating session titled: “You Matter and What You Do Matters: Partnerships Help Make the Difference!” This is possible, she said, through building strong and enduring partnerships among schools, families and communities to ensure students’ success. Audiences also participated in a puzzle game promoting the idea of collaboration among schools, families and communities and the roles that the different groups play.

Rock Quarry Elementary School 2nd grade teacher Andrea Ziegler, a native of Tuscaloosa, said: “So many trainings that we have as teachers are based upon academics, and we forget about the relational part of it.” She was “very excited” about getting the right training of how to build the trust and relationships with the parents and the community. She said the workshop “was really helpful tonight. I think I can walk away and start tomorrow [to] build our relationships in the little things that we can do,” Ziegler said.

Shan Jiang, a PhD student from China, who is also a mother of two elementary students, said that huge challenges exist for foreign parents trying to raise their children in the United States. By attending PTLA, she hopes to let her children know that their mother is working hard on their behalf. She also believes that PTLA provides her with a good opportunity to promote diversity in the community and make the voice of minority parents heard by the schools.

PTLA Schedules First Session for Fall 2017; Looks to Year Ahead

By Sophia Xiong
CCBP Volunteer

Two components of the Parent Teacher Leadership Academy (PTLA) will have their first meeting of the fall semester Thursday, September 21. Marsha Greenfeld, senior program facilitator at Johns Hopkins University, will be the guest speaker.

PTLA is a leadership program that provides selected parents and teachers with opportunities to develop their knowledge and abilities as leaders within their school communities. Each parent is chosen for participation by their school’s principal.

The first session of the year will be held in Sellers Auditorium at the Bryant Conference Center on campus. Both the Parent Leadership Academy (PLA) and the Teacher Leadership Academy (TLA) will participate in this collaborative session.

During the 2017–2018 school year, which marks PLA’s 10th anniversary, teachers and parents in the program will have sessions to help them acquire skills that will support student achievement through family/school partnerships. Topics will include Goal-Oriented School, Family and Community Partnerships, Teachers/Parents as Leaders, Collaboration and Communication, School and Board of Education Relations, and Supporting Safe, Healthy and Connected Schools/Communities.

Last year, PTLA provided leadership training for members of the PLA, the TLA, the Hispanic Parent Leadership Academy (HPLA) and Pre-Kindergarten Parent Leadership Academy (PKPLA). This year, in addition to the 32 elementary schools that will participate, the Academy is expanding to include parent and teacher participants from 17 middle schools.

“We are thrilled to launch our new Middle School Academy based upon the requests of our district partners and advisory committee,” said Dr. Holly Morgan, director of community education in the Center for Community-Based Partnerships, an initiative of The University of Alabama’s Division of Community Affairs. “The sessions are based upon the foundational structure of our PTLA curriculum, but each topic will be adapted to the needs of the middle school academy participant.”

In addition to the launch of the Middle School Academy, two additional school districts — Fayette County Schools and Sumter County Schools — will join the program this year, bringing the total number of district partners to six. The other members are Alabaster City Schools, Lamar County Schools, Tuscaloosa City Schools and Tuscaloosa County Schools.

After fulfilling participation requirements, participants are formally recognized by the UA Division of Community Affairs, as well as the respective school superintendents, at the PTLA graduation ceremony. This year’s ceremony is planned for April 10, 2018, and will include a special celebration marking the 10-year anniversary of PLA.

Last year, 90 parents and teachers graduated from the PTLA program. This year, the number of participants has increased to 227. “The overall growth of the Academy is a testament to the support of each of our parents, teachers, administrators, superintendents and community partners,” said Morgan. “Our Academy is truly a collaborative effort, and we are blessed to have all 227 members this year.”

Ceremony Honors Parent Teacher Leadership Academy Graduates

By Kirsten J. Barnes
CCBP Graduate Assistant

Nearly 200 graduates, family members, school representatives and program associates gathered to honor the 50 parents and 43 teachers who were members of the 2016-2017 Parent Teacher Leadership Academy on Thursday, April 20, 2017, at Hotel Capstone on the campus of The University of Alabama.

“This graduating class is more than an academy of knowers; they are and will continue to be, an academy of doers,” said CCBP Community Education Director Dr. Holly Morgan, director of PTLA in remarks that drew enthusiastic applause. Participants came from the following four school systems: Alabaster City Schools, Lamar County Schools, Tuscaloosa City Schools and Tuscaloosa County Schools.

“When I reflect upon this past year and our mission, a huge smile spreads across my face,” Morgan said. “I thought about each session, each eager face, each e-mail or phone call, each visit to a school during an implemented project, and each view of the Facebook page…. Thank you, parents and teachers, for allowing me and our group of facilitators to be a part of your world and for the collaboration and community formed by your relationships.”

The evening was the culmination of an entire school-year of training sessions designed to help groups create and implement 24 school improvement programs, while at the same time forming relationships that will promote student achievement.

The Academy is a joint initiative of the local school systems, The University of Alabama’s Center for Community-Based Partnerships, and the faculty of UA’s College of Education and College of Human Environmental Sciences.

“All of these sessions gave us the opportunity to hold an open dialogue and connect and share and learn from each other,” said Janice Smith, Elementary Parent Leadership Academy facilitator.

The event combined participants from the Parent Leadership Academy, Teacher Leadership Academy, Pre-K Leadership Academy and Hispanic Parent Leadership Academy. During the year, members representing each school worked together to create and implement a project that supported the individual school’s improvement plans. Posters, representing each project, were on display outside the ballroom.

“We should be proud of what these projects are going to do for these young little lives. These kids are now excited,” said Matthews Elementary parent Daniel Morales. “We are pushing all of these different ideas at these different schools.” His team created “Bow Ties and Bows” and “Hats and Heels,” which will become annual father-daughter and mother-son events at the school.

Adriane Sheffield, a teacher at University Place Elementary and a doctoral candidate in UA’s Educational Psychology program, helped her school create PAW Patrol (Partners Always Welcome), which encourages males to volunteer at the school.

“PTLA is not just about developing teacher leaders and developing parent leaders. I can truly say that after this experience I know how to be a partner leader,” said Sheffield, who has more than 13 years of teaching experience. “We became a team and we are now partner leaders at University Place. Now we know how to listen to each other and work together.” She said her team learned how to “engage our community a little stronger, because it really is about partnering.”

Kim Pate, of the Pre-K Parent Leadership Academy, reported on her team’s successful “Betsy Bulldog” project, which utilized Buhl Elementary’s bulldog mascot and Facebook messages in a successful effort to increase parental involvement in their children’s school work. Maria Resendiz, of Walker Elementary PTLA, described how “Ramtastic Readers” helped improve reading scores through a school-wide accelerated reading project.

Each school received a plaque on which the names of the school’s graduates were engraved, and graduates also received a certificate and a T-shirt recognizing their participation. In all, the schools pursued 24 projects during the year on topics ranging from art galleries to cultural learning, from promoting parental involvement in homework to improving math skills.

“We call this graduation because we pass out certificates, but a better word I think is commencement, because commencement means a beginning ­— a new start,” said Dr. Samory T. Pruitt, vice president of UA’s Division of Community Affairs. “There is an expectation that this is not the end for this effort. We expect and we can pretty much count on this group to go back and do the things in schools and communities that will help families and help children be successful.”

Pruitt said the Academy began with elementary parents in an effort to build strong bonds between parents and teachers early in a student’s educational journey. However, next year the program will expand to include parents and teachers from middle schools, and expand the number of school districts from four to seven.

2016–2017 Graduating Teacher Class

Tuscaloosa County Schools — Lynn Corkren, Laura Siciliano, Krystal Bruce, Jalicia McCaskill, Hillary Stephens, Rebecca Wheat, Carol Fuller, Kathryn Maness, Ann Campbell, Rusty Gray, Emily Glasgow, Brandy Hicks, Danielle Fulghum, Brittney Pearson, Carmen Davis and Johnna Drummond.

Tuscaloosa City Schools — Summer Christman, April Ball, Twana Ivory, LaKeisha Billups, Brittney Pruitt, Jacklyn Constant–King, Debra Matherson, Brittany Harris, Nakami Townsell, Elizabeth Elledge, Ryan Rust, Adriane Sheffield, Tonya Young, Michelle Thompson, Jameka Windham, Shannon Colburn, Lisa Ann Franks and Alyson Lamb.

Alabaster City Schools — Kimberly Davis, Brittney Roberson, Mandy Wesson, Darbe Hooten, Catherine Scheller, Kirstin Hall and Matt Wilson.

Lamar County Schools — Julie Riley and Courtney Shaw.

 

2016–2017 Graduating Parent Class

Tuscaloosa County Schools — Susan Winters, Rachael Boblitt, Maria Del Rocio Sesena Aquino, Martha Lugo Maldonado, Danny Morales, Janet Lambert, Jill Hobbs, Maria Resendiz, Dylan Franklin, Natasha Wilson, Kim Pate, Mandy Munoz, Crystal Leight, Janelle Strickland, Phyllis Robinson, Tamaria Madison, Kathryn J. Phillips, Connie Betancur and Sandra Martinez-Franco.

Tuscaloosa City Schools — Chas Hardy, Antwon Prince-Sealy, Queen Brown, Mary Samuels, Epifanio Martinez, Tungie Moore, Mark Young, Samara Early, Nikki Evans, Stephannie Nixon, Jaela Avery, Brooklyn Thom, Sabrina Crummie, Francis Smith, Lurena Smith, Bethany Hulburt–Torres, Leslie Dixon and Kimaya Williams.

Alabaster City Schools — Alex Lightsey, Keri Southern, Nicole Hope, Tiffany Stone, Lori Lambert, Jennifer Weltzin, Misty DeRamus, Christy Byars, Amy Thames, Elvia Casillas and Mirella Ruelas.

Lamar County Schools — Aleigha Colvin and Beth Smith.


PTLA is a joint initiative of the Tuscaloosa City and County School Systems, the University of Alabama’s Center for Community-Based Partnerships, and the faculty in the University of Alabama’s College of Education and College of Human Environmental Sciences. It utilizes research–based practices to provide professional development to parent and teacher leaders who use their knowledge to support student achievement through strong family-school partnerships.

The mission of the Center for Community-Based Partnerships is to connect faculty, staff, students and community partners in research-based projects designed to solve critical problems identified collaboratively by community members and the University.

Parents and Teachers Collaborate on School Improvement Projects in Parent Teacher Leadership Academy

 

 

 

 

 

Photos by Fuyan Zhang


By Kirsten J. Barnes
CCBP Graduate Assistant

 

The Elementary Parent Leadership Academy, Hispanic Parent Leadership Academy and the Pre-K Parent Leadership Academy, projects of the Center for Community-Based Partnerships (CCBP), held sessions on March 9 that focused on connecting schools to communities. The program as whole is known as Parent Teacher Leadership Academy (PTLA).

Approximately 90 parents and teachers gathered at the Bryant Conference Center where they received information about acquiring financial support for school projects through grants and educational advocacy.

PTLA stresses cooperation to improve the quality of education for children by getting parents involved with teachers and administrators at the school, which is “exactly the premise upon which the program was founded,” said Dr. Holly Morgan, CCBP director of community education.

Although the curricula for parents and teachers are different, this year the projects have become a collaborative effort, which both groups displayed during the session. “In the past the parents were the only group who created a project, which benefited the school,” Morgan said. “This year, we had a new structure and the projects had to be tied to a school improvement goal. Every school ­— per the state of Alabama — has to have a school improvement plan.”

The teacher and parents selected a goal for their project and began plans to turn their ideas into reality. During the session, the parents and teachers explained their projects, some of which had already been implemented.

Carol Fuller, who teaches second grade at Walker Elementary School in Northport, said she valued participation in PTLA so that she could help her students through interaction with their parents. “I wanted to work on building relationships with parents to help students overall,” said Fuller, who is in her 21st year of teaching.

Walker’s PTLA team developed a program that reintroduces the Accelerated Reader Program to get students excited about reading and aims to help the school meet its reading improvement goals. “We’ve already seen a five percent increase in reading scores,” Fuller said. “The librarian keeps reading cards with goals for each student.”

At Buhl Elementary School first grade teacher Emily Glasgow has teamed with parent Kim Pate to help parents keep up with what is going on at school. Pate, disguised as Betsy Bulldog, creates Facebook videos that answer parents’ questions.

Although the rural school has approximately 200 students, the Betsy Bulldog Facebook page is averaging more than 400 views for each video. “This is definitely a new way to connect with our parents and our community,” said Glasgow, who has taught for 13 years. Both groups will graduate from the program on April 20.

 For more background and information about PTLA, go to https://ptla.ua.edu/.


PTLA is a joint initiative of the Tuscaloosa City and County School Systems, the University of Alabama’s Center for Community-Based Partnerships, and the faculty in the University of Alabama’s College of Education and College of Human Environmental Sciences. It utilizes research–based practices to provide professional development to parent and teacher leaders who use their knowledge to support student achievement through strong family-school partnerships.

The mission of the Center for Community-Based Partnerships is to connect faculty, staff, students and community partners in research-based projects designed to solve critical problems identified collaboratively by community members and the University.