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New teacher training at EFC

Earlier this month, FIA and Education For Change (EFC) leadership co-hosted new teacher training on family engagement. Parent leaders share their powerful education stories, hopes for their children’s education and how they want to partner with teachers. This session was an example of EFC’s intentional choice to operate through its values: Connected, Interdependent, Inclusive, Learners.

When I think of my education in Oakland, I remember that my elementary school didn’t invest the time to create an inclusive space where my mom’s voice felt valued. She didn’t speak English, so my older siblings and I had to translate all the communication from my teachers.

Cox Academy grandmother Ms. Regina Cannon shared her education story with 50 new teachers at Education for Change schools. She was joined by Latitude parent, Isabel Gomez, Lazear parent Daisy Campos and Marlene Garcia from Learning without Limits. Several EFC schools also hosted parent panels with their staffs at beginning of year professional development as part of their commitment to honoring family leadership.

No school system is perfect but EFC stands out by the way they value listening to our diverse community and giving parents and teachers the space to learn from each other and to listen to what each is saying.

The panel was an opportunity for EFC parents to set the tone around two-way communication. From parent testimonies, the educators participating in the training heard that at EFC, the language a parent speaks or the level of education they have doesn’t matter — all parents want to support their child’s teacher and see their child receive a quality education.

Teachers drafted and shared their vision for family engagement using EFC’s new DEI commitments and the inspiration from the parent panel.

Parents shared best practices they want to see teachers do more of and pitfalls they should avoid. For example, Lazear parent leader Daisy shared she wants teachers to ask for help in the hope that they will not burn themselves out because when our educators are burnt out, our students are the ones most impacted by that stress.

The training also included some roleplay, so teachers could learn pointers on how to establish a positive relationship with families and ways they can introduce themselves to build an academic partnership. The session was an example of how we can move conversations in education to be student-centered. We wish all the new educators a successful year full of many opportunities to engage families.

Erica Baires is the Lead Organizer for Education for Change. Isabel Gomez is a veteran EFC family staff. She is a parent of a Latitude student and coordinates family and community partnership at Achieve Academy.

In the spirit of being connected to our FIA network, we ask you to reflect and share: What do you remember about how your family engaged with your teacher or school?


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