The Black Parents Alliance works within the community to discuss relevant topics, gain information, and make decisions to improve the education of their children. We advocate for policies that improve the intellectual, social, and emotional success of Black scholars and families; empower and give voice to the concerns and successes of Black families and scholars in Tacoma; and mobilize allies within the community to highlight the need for more robust systems of support for Black scholars.
Consistent with the belief that parents are children's first and most important teachers, the BPA relies on a definition of family engagement that views it as a "systemic and sustained commitment that occurs across time, spans many settings, and requires shared responsibility from all parties." Yet despite families' critical role, many schools and early childhood programs struggle to successfully engage and empower parents and the broader community.
While leaders and elected officials trumpet the importance of family, current policies and practices at the federal, state, district and school levels rarely provide sufficient support to teachers or to parents, nor is anyone held accountable for comprehensively and consistently engaging a diverse range of families. Further, although there are excellent parenting education programs currently in use across the United States, many of them do not possess the depth of cultural relevance that allows the curriculum to fully resonate with Black parents, in particular.
BPA believes in prioritizing conversations about race, culture, class and gender in the context of family engagement; not to say that these things must, or should, be at the forefront of all of our conversations, but rather to say that those of us who provide services and solutions should learn as much as we can about the context of race and culture bias in which our children and families are embedded. It is critical for us to make conscious decisions about engaging with family and community members in ways that demonstrate a deeper and more complete understanding, as part of our efforts to build positive relationships that ensure parent engagement is an ongoing series of supports that create a strong foundation of connection, particularly in the early years.
As a parent, it's been years since we've had to take the core academic subjects in a classroom setting. Helping your child can be tough, but it's not impossible.
One of the biggest hurdles to understanding how to help your child, is knowing what is expected of them in the classroom. Listen to how this mother navigated setting expectations at home that matched what was required in school.
As our kids get older, their needs change inside and outside of the classroom. They start to struggle with the same things we did when we were their age. Trying to fit in, make friends, discover ourselves. Listen to this mom talk about ways she connected with her child during that formative stage of life.
Parent teacher conferences aren't only there for when you have concerns about how your child is doing. They are also a chance to establish a relationship with your child's teacher and ensure that they understand what they need and how to support you. See how this mom learned to get the most of out them.
Getting prepared for college involves a lot of work, and the good news is you don't have to do it alone. See how this mom prepared her child for college by building the right relationships at school and finding ways to help at home.