After a year and a half of planning, the Parent Leadership Academy, a partnership between parents and the School District, underwritten by the District and William Penn Foundation, has been launched as a multi-site initiative. Local and national education consultants supplement School District officials in teaching courses and leading events.

The Academy is housed at three regional locations at Cleveland Elementary, Meehan Middle School, and the Academy at Palumbo.

Offerings reflect the Academy board’s decision to focus on supporting parents’ personal and professional development. Courses include GED classes, English language skills, word processing, job development and career readiness, and community-based higher education classes. Women job seekers may be eligible for free professional attire from a sponsoring nonprofit agency.

“Parents play a vital role in the development and education of their child and their success in the classroom,” said Stepheni Trott-Batipps, a PLA board member. “If they’re employed and feel reasonably satisfied and on point in their home life, they are in that much better of a position to advocate effectively and forcefully for their child – be it getting an IEP, a gifted program, quality teachers or more school resources.”

“These initiatives are designed to build parent capacity in the sort term through advocacy and long-term through personal growth and self-awareness and professionalism,” said PLA Co-chair Teresa Duncan.

Duncan shares the chairmanship with School District parent coordinator JoAnne Eggleston. Eggleston is running workshops on advocating for your child’s special education services at all three sites on November 28, December 5, and December 13. For more information on these and other courses and events, call Pearline Sturdivant at 215-400-5551 or e-mail

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