We know parents play an important role in their children’s education. But as kids get older, it’s harder for adults to get involved with homework and projects. We’re funding two programs that give families ways to work together.
PowerMyLearning will use $75,000 to train teachers and parent coordinators in 10 city schools on how to use a new program designed to help middle schoolers “teach” their parents what they are learning in school using a fun, collaborative activity. The program, called Family Playlists, is based on research from Johns Hopkins that shows this kind of parental involvement boosts student achievement.
Binta, a sixth-grader at South Bronx Preparatory, says the program has strengthened her relationship with her mother. “My mom used to tell me every day to study and go over my notes,” Binta says. “Family Playlists make our bond better because we interact more. Now, my mom trusts me and knows how well I’m doing. She likes to listen to me explain what I’m learning.”
Another program, Participatory Budgeting, allows people to vote on how public money is spent. It gets New Yorkers involved in the democratic process and has led to higher voter participation. Now, with $120,000 from The Trust, the Participatory Budgeting Project will bring the concept to 50 high schools.
Schools will set aside $2,000 or more from their budgets and let students propose how to spend it—for new classroom technology, for example, or sports equipment. Then students, parents, teachers, and others vote on funding.
“When we invite parents in, it’s beautiful to see their conversations with their children about the projects,” says Francesco Tena, a program manager. “We talk about Participatory Budgeting rebuilding trust in the democratic process and government, but it’s also about showcasing what young people have to offer.”