Last spring, as many Philadelphia schools got word that they would be losing teaching positions, parent groups across the city started to speak up about the threat of more overcrowded classrooms.
The staffing reductions announced last spring turned out to be the harbinger of much bigger budget problems to come. By fall, a $73 million budget shortfall was hanging over the School District.
Wissahickon Charter School in Germantown employs a parent outreach coordinator and formally acknowledges all kinds of parental activities – from reading aloud at home to raising money to chaperoning trips.
The Folk Arts – Cultural Treasures Charter School (FACTS) in Chinatown, which seeks out families from diverse ethnic and cultural backgrounds, has language interpreters on staff and offers parents simultaneous translations of meetings.
In an effort to strengthen the relationship between parents and the schools, the School District has set up programs to increase parental involvement in their children's education and school.
The School District's Office of Family Engagement and Language Equity Services (OFELES) has put forth a number of programs to give parents tools they need to help students flourish in school. Below is an outline of initiatives that support parents as they navigate through the School District.