On Friday, January 21st, we went to the City Club of Cleveland to attend a forum titled “Now More Than Ever: Family Engagement and Student Success.”
The format was that of a panel discussion wherein Mr. Dan Moulthrop, City Club CEO, in person queried Dr. Habeebah R. Grimes. CEO of Positive Education Program and Ms. Gina Garrett, Family Program Manager of Open Doors Academy.
For more information about the program/schools https://pepcleve.org/about/philosophy/ and https://www.opendoorsacademy.org/
Also playing a significant part in the proceedings via zoom was Dr. Karen L. Mapp, Senior Lecturer on Education from the Harvard Graduate School for Education, whose “research and practice focus has been on cultivation of partnerships among families, educators that support student achievement and school improvement.”
During the conversation, several issues dealing with education were brought forward especially the impact of implicit bias as it relates family structure.
For example, many of us believe are quick to assume that unless the parents, themselves, turn out for school conferences/events something is deficient even though grandparents/other relatives/pastor/even close friends are more than ready to offer assistance/support to the child and the school.
Along these lines, we believe that families who have recently immigrated to the United States consider education to be a priority for their younger members just as families whose roots in the U.S. go back many generations.
This belief was confirmed through discussions we had that day with several people who work in the field of education who were present at the City Club who told us that, despite some language barriers, immigrant/refugee families very much want to be involved.
Let it also be mentioned that we shared a table that day with a retired person who once worked for a company that referred several foreign-born people to Margaret W. Wong & Associates, LLC over the years.