Education Week - February 6, 2013 - Special Report - (Page S19)

PARENT ENGAGEMENT LESSON LEARNED Charlie Mahoney/Prime for Education Week “I’m always looking for connections. That’s the key. When the district lays out its priorities, every single one of my colleagues has a piece of that work, including me. I do an analysis: How can I support their work and connect our work?” Michele Brooks ASSISTANT SUPERINTENDENT Office of Family and Student Engagement, Boston Public Schools BY MICHELE MOLNAR T he day Michele Brooks “lost it” as the frustrated mother of a Boston high school student became a moment that transformed her life forever. That was 20 years ago, and today Brooks works inside the Boston school system as the assistant superintendent in charge of the district’s office of family and student engagement. Brooks is credited with strategically aligning Boston’s parentengagement efforts with the district’s academic goals, which moved the work of her office from a peripheral activity to one that is central to the needs of the district’s 57,000 students and their families. “When I first started in this role, I could say I was the only one who would bring up, ‘So, what about the families?’ Now, whether I’m at the table or not, the conversation is about the families,” says Brooks, who has been leading the office for the past four years. One of her high-profile efforts over that time has been launching and overseeing Parent University—a program that has educated parents on their roles as teachers, advocates, leaders, and learners themselves. Her staff collaborates with the other offices in the district, coordinates outreach and training, creates publications, and implements programs to advance the district’s vision: “Every school will welcome every family and every student, actively engaging them as partners in student learning and school improvement.” None of that was in Brooks’ scope as the disgruntled mother of a 9th grade daughter two decades ago. Brooks, 59, had moved her family from Tennessee back to Boston so her three children could benefit from the outstanding education she herself had LEADERS TO LEARN FROM > EDUCATION WEEK • February 6, 2013 | S19

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Education Week - February 6, 2013 - Special Report

Education Week - February 6, 2013 - Special Report
Dropout Reduction
English-Learner Education
School Turnarounds
Rural Enrollment
Special Education
District-Union Partnership
Parent Engagement
School Climate
College Readiness
Digital Access
Social Networking
Student Discipline
Smart Growth
Stem Education

Education Week - February 6, 2013 - Special Report