PLA Presents Group Projects in Final Meeting Before Graduation Ceremony

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By  Yiben Liu CCBP Graduate Assistant

The Parent Leadership Academy (PLA), a program of the Center for Community-Based Partnerships (CCBP) at The University of Alabama, held its final regular meeting at the Bryant Conference Center on March 7. The next gathering of this group will be an April 9 graduation ceremony. PLA includes four units, the Elementary PLA, Hispanic PLA, Pre-K PLA, and middle school PLA.

Lynn Evers, Elementary Parent Leadership Academy facilitator, gave the welcome. “We all realize this time of the year is very difficult for families,” said Evers. She thanked attendees for arranging their schedules in order to attend the meeting.

Participants presented their group projects to each other, and participants were granted two rounds of presentations in order to guarantee that each member of a group had the chance to explore the whole exhibition and communicate their ideas to others.

The Big Sandy Elementary School team hosted “STEM Night at the Sandy” on Feb. 28. During this event, each grade brought up a challenge related to STEM subjects (science, technology, engineering, and math) and both students and parents were invited to work through the challenges together. The event was attended by 320 students, parents, teachers and staff members.

“We really get everybody pumped up!” said presenter Whitney Swatloski, who announced that the school plans to conduct the project on an annual basis. The biggest challenge, she said, was to get parents engaged during after-school hours on a workday. “We are super proud of how many people actually showed up,” she said.

The Brookwood Middle School team is planning an engagement day including a 5K and Fun Run, an Arts Festival and an Old Timer’s softball game on May 11. The targeted participants not only include Brookwood students, alumni and their families, but the entire Brookwood community. “We have an open gate,” said presenter Polly Anders. Anders said the original idea was based on the concern of the low involvement of parents in their students’ school activities. The goal is to bring school and community together as one.

Following the presentations, CCBP Executive Director Dr. James E. McLean led a workshop on grant application and funding.