Maryland’s Parent Information Resource Center (PIRC) is Parents as Essential Partners (PEP), part of the Mid-Atlantic Equity Consortium in Bethesda, Maryland.1 With a new five-year federal grant, PEP will collaborate with NNPS at Johns Hopkins University to strengthen district-level and school-based programs of family and community involvement that will increase student success in school.
PEP plans to conduct a four part program:
PEP’s first year of work focuses on initiating all four components with four school systems: Baltimore City, Prince George’s County, Washington County, and Wicomico County. More districts and schools will be added over the five-year grant period. NNPS will enhance the PIRCs investment by extending attention to any or all districts in Maryland that want to develop the School-Focused Component. This will help sustain work on partnership programs started by NNPS with the prior PIRC, The Family Works.
With support from PEP and NNPS, Brenda G. Thomas, Director of Maryland’s Partnership Program Development for the School-Focused component, will offer professional development on partnerships to district leaders and new Action Teams for Partnerships throughout the state.
The PEP grant will pay for district leadership training and workshops for new schools’ action teams for partnership. This includes support for substitute teachers so that teachers can attend the one-day professional development workshop, which results in a draft One-Year Action Plan for Partnerships linked to goals in their school improvement plans.
In Maryland, 16 districts and 196 schools have started to build their school-based programs for student success, and others are scheduled to begin this systematic work. Some other states’ PIRCs have joined NNPS to take similar steps.3 The collaborative work by PEP in Maryland and NNPS is showing that district leaders and their schools can organize plans and practices that meet NCLB requirements for involvement at the district and school levels and engage parents in ways that support student achievement, attendance, behavior and other improvement goals.
Brenda G. Thomas
1 For more information on PEP, Maryland’s PIRC, visit www.maec.org.
2 For a brochure outlining the PEP and NNPS collaborative, see www.partnershipschools.org and click on Professional Development and the Maryland program.
3 PIRCs interested in joining NNPS to develop similar strategies may contact email@example.com.