PLA and TLA Hold Joint Session

By Sophia Xiong
CCBP Graduate Assistant

The Teacher Leadership Academy (TLA) and the Parent Leadership Academy (PLA) held a joint meeting at the Bryant Conference Center on Thursday, October 24. It was the second meeting of this academic year.

Andrea Ziegler, CCBP director of Community Education, welcomed everyone, reviewed session one, and introduced guest speaker Marsha D. Greenfeld to the audience.

Greenfeld is senior program facilitator with the National Network of Partnership Schools at Johns Hopkins University. She provides professional development to help leaders in organizations throughout the nation implement and sustain goal-linked programs of family and community involvement. She also develops and conducts workshops and provides technical assistance on all aspects of partnership program development.

For teachers and parents in the PTLA October meeting, Greenfeld held an interactive session titled “Your Child Matters and What We Do Matters: Partnerships Help Make the Difference!”

To warm up and prepare teachers and parents, Greenfeld asked them to think about a leader they admired. From there, she encouraged them to be the kind of leader they would follow. She also encouraged them to think about the role they play in creating effective partnerships that matter to student success. Teachers, she said, can help students by sharing information with their parents, encouraging families to support, understanding students’ family backgrounds and celebrating students’ success.

Later Greenfeld asked the group to share their experience as a student. She reminded them that if children don’t think anyone cares, they often think what they are doing doesn’t matter, and don’t perform as well as they could. “If a dad just asks ‘how’s school today?’ the student does better,” Greenfeld said. Therefore, it is important to have parents and communities involved. In this way, students will have multiple sources of support to succeed in school and in other activities.

Greenfeld asked parents to discuss the best qualities about their children and the dreams for their children. Reynelda Huggins, a mother of a student in Davis-Emerson Middle School, told the group: “My child is caring, and he is very enthusiastic about learning. I desire for my child to dream big. I want him to be resilient and competent.” Greenfeld encouraged parents to be encouragers, role models, and supporters to help their children to achieve their dreams.

In the second half of the session, Greenfeld guided teachers and parents to plan their school projects for this year. Greenfeld provided the framework of six types of involvement offered by Dr. Joyce L. Epstein to help teachers and parents design their projects. Greenfeld suggested teachers and parents design the project with involvement from parenting, communicating, volunteering, learning at home, decision-making and collaborating with the community.

Huggins, who is also a 7th-grade math teacher at Davis-Emerson Middle School, said, “I learned a lot from tonight’s session, and I am looking forward to seeing our project come out.”