COA Youth & Family Centers: Having involved parents

Cramer-Krasselt

Summary

When a parent is involved every day in supporting a child's education, that child does better in school. Yet, while simple things like asking, "What did you learn in school today?" seem so easy and natural, many Milwaukee Public Schools parents weren't even doing that. The mission of Milwaukee's "Having Involved Parents" program is to reinvigorate parent involvement in education.

But the parents they wanted to reach had an adversarial relationship with school themselves. Many had struggled. Some had dropped out. How do you engage in a conversation about the importance of education with these parents? And in a way that isn't an indictment of their parenting skills?

We couldn't tell these parents to be involved. We needed to find ways to literally involve them.

Guerrilla Classrooms transformed everyday experiences into opportunities for parents to engage educationally with their children. Buses became museums. Transit shelters became math problems. When we exhausted mainstream media opportunities, we took over parks and beaches with custom installations built from scratch.