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8.19.14 – The BHS Advisory Design Team met to learn more about advisory models and to start planning for BHS! This is the first action step from the commitments made by BHS Principal Amy Mellencamp and Partnership Director Hal Colsten at our Public Action.
6.4.14 -Our Public Action: Students Who are Known Well and Ready for the Future – BHS Principal Amy Mellencamp and Partnership Director Hal Colsten committed to developing a strong and effective advisory program at BHS! – Click here to see the highlights
6.3.14 – Our Burlington Parents and Youth for Change Public Action leaders met at the College Street Church to do our final rehearsal for our public action!
6.2.14 — Our Burlington Parents and Youth for Change Public Action leaders got together to practice, practice, practice.
5.30.14 – We sent out our Press Release about our Public Action!
5.28.14 – Our Burlington research team met to finalize our Research Report.
5.24.14 — Our Burlington Public Action leaders got together to PRACTICE our roles, and write down our parts, so we can have a powerful public action!
5.23.14 – About 30 Winooski parents gathered for a research meeting with Partnership for Change fellow Beth Brodie to learn more about advisory programs.
5.21.14 – Our Burlington research team reviewed all of our research — 10 research meetings, trip to visit Pittsfield Middle High School, national research on the path to college, 8th grade test score data, and our survey of 100 BHS students — and pulled together a draft of our research report to summarize what we’ve learned.
5.19.14 – Our Burlington group met at the VNA Family Room to pick roles for the public action — go team!
5.17.14 – Our Burlington Parents and Youth for Change met at Dawn’s house to review the format for a public action, to review what we’ve learned in our 8 months of research and to identify what commitments we are seeking from school leaders. We started doing outreach to let folks know about our Public Action on June 4th — check out our Flyer.
5.14.14 – Our Burlington Parents and Youth for Change research team met to work on our research report on college and career-readiness.
4.22.14 - More than 50 parents, youth, family members, and community partners came together to learn about college and career-readiness programs, to get more information about what it takes to be “ready”, and to review some test data about student skills. We met with VSAC, Upward Bound, Navicate, Let’s Get Ready and Vermont Adult Learning. A big thank you to our parent, youth and community leaders last week — especially Madina, Jeetan, Jenny, Jess, Tul, Paw, and Marcella.
4.21.14 – All of our Parents for Change and Youth leadership groups joined together for dinner, an update, and to kick-off our “Research Marathon” on college and career-readiness.
4.3.14 – VNA Family Room Parents for Change, Burlington New American Parents for Change, and Burlington Youth leaders met with BHS Guidance Director Patty Wesley, ELL Director Linda Walsleben, and BHS Principal Amy Mellencamp to learn more about how BHS currently supports students to set and reach college and career goals.
3.21.14 – Winooski Bhutanese parents meet to talk about planning a research meeting.
3.19.14 – Winooski student group meets and discusses forming an “I’M POSSIBLE” youth leadership group to work on changes at WMHS.
3.14.14 – Burlington youth group continues surveying BHS students about college and career goals and planning.
3.10.14 – VNA Family Room Parents for Change leaders had a research meeting with Partnership for Change fellow Beth Brodie to learn more about advisory programs.
2.21.14 - Burlington youth group continues surveying BHS students about college and career goals and planning.
2.17.14 – VNA Family Room Parents for Change reviewed Personal Learning Plans used by Pittsfield, New Hampshire and templates provided by the Vermont Agency of Education.
2.12.14 – Winooski New American parents and youth meet to share what they’ve learned about guidance and advising at WMHS. Over 30 Bhutanese Nepali, Somali, Somali Bantu and Burmese parents and family members attend and decide they want to learn more about advising systems. The group will work to schedule a research meeting with Partnership for Change Fellow Beth Brodie.
2.7.14 – Burlington youth group meets to start reviewing what BHS students are saying about college and career planning.
1.20.14 – Burlington VNA Family Room Parents for Change leaders honor Martin Luther King Jr. by coming together for a service project to cook for the Family Room (while we talked about how to reach out to more families!)
1.18.14 – Somali Bantu Parents for Change leaders raise concerns about students taking college-readiness classes at BHS but not testing well enough to reach college goals in a small group conversation at the Somali Bantu Association.
1.17.14 – Youth Leaders spent the morning at BHS finding out how students are planning for their future.
1.15.14 – Winooski Parents for Change leaders select February 12th to report out to families and students about their research on Guidance and Advising.
1.6.14 – Burlington VNA Family Room Parents for Change provided feedback to the Partnership for Change about their goals and strategies.
12.20.13 — Our Burlington VNA Family Room group reviewed what we learning from our research meetings with the Hunt and Edmunds Middle School principals, our listening campaign, and our trip to Pittsfield. The group has decided to focus on personal learning plans and new systems of advising.
12.10.13 — Our Winooski group had a great research meeting with WHS Guidance Counselor Emmy Charron. She helped us to learn about how guidance works and how students plan for their classes and for graduation.
11.19.13 – In an evaluation session after the Public Action, Parents for Change parent, student and family leaders used the words “proud,” “powerful,” “excited,” “heard,” “determined” and “fabulous” to describe how they felt. Let’s keep the momentum going!
11.13.13 – Want to see some of what we experienced at Pittsfield High School? Check out this video about student-led conferences — and hear how students work with their advisors to identify and reach their goals and develop plans for their future.
11.1.13 — The latest version of the Family Friendly Report Tool is available at http://www.partnershipvt.org/ffp. This new report, designed by multilingual families working with school staff, helps students and families to understand their progress toward college and career-readiness.
10.28.13 — Burlington Parents for Change leaders prepared for their first research meetings with the middle school principals.
10.26.13 — Burlington New American Parents for Change leaders prepared for their second public action which will be November 17, 2013 at 5pm! Leaders reviewed progress and are getting organized to report out to the community, celebrate success, and seek commitments to next steps.
10.7.13 — Our newest Burlington Parents for Change group has been up and running for the last month. Families are beginning to gather information about how the schools work with students to set goals and identify interests. The research process will start with learning more about what Burlington’s middle schools are doing in this area.
10.1.13 — Winooski New American Parents for Change leaders met to develop questions for their October 15th research meeting with WHS teacher Courtney Poquette. The group is gathering information about how the Teacher Advisory program currently works.
9.29.13 — Burlington New American Parents for Change leaders reviewed progress and began planning for the next Public Action — SAVE THE DATE — November 17th at 5pm. We’ll celebrate and share what’s been achieved — the Family-Friendly Progress Report and a revised Student Placement Process — and ask school leaders to re-commit to next steps.
9.12.13 — Parents for Change leaders attended the Partnership implementation team meetings at 6:30 at Winooski Middle/High School.
8.28.13 — It was a busy August! Burlington New American Parents for Change leaders met with school leaders, Winooski New American Parents for Change leaders shared progress with their community members, Organizers continued meeting with parents in their homes, and a new Burlington Parents for Change group was formed. Join us!
8.15.13 — How do you know if your child is on the path to college/career readiness and good options after high school? Burlington New American Parents for Change leaders helped create a new Family-Friendly report — for families and students. Check it out at http://www.partnershipvt.org/ffp This new tool is a first draft that families tried out starting in June — and thought it was really helpful. We are working with Burlington School leaders to make sure this report comes home with the regular BHS report cards. Parents for Change leaders met with school leaders on August 14th to discuss next steps — for more info, see our notes from the meeting.
MEETINGS (July/August 2013)
- Winooski New American Parents for Change Family Update Meeting — Saturday, August 25th at 10am at O’Brien Center
- Burlington New American Parents for Change Leaders-School Leaders Meeting – Wednesday, August 14th at 6pm
- Winooski New American Parents for Change Leaders Meeting – Tuesday, August 13th 11am
- Burlington Parents for Change Intro Meeting – Thursday, August 8th 5:30pm – call or text Meg at 310-1059 for info
- Winooski Parents for Change Intro Meeting – Wednesday, August 7th 5:30pm – call or text Meg at 310-1059 for info
- Burlington New American Parents for Change Leaders Meeting – Wednesday, July 31st 5:30pm
HOW DO STUDENTS GET THE GUIDANCE AND ADVICE TO SET COLLEGE AND CAREER GOALS?
July 20, 2013- After meeting with Winooski Principal Leon Wheeler, Winooski Parents for Change leaders have decided to request meetings with Guidance Counselor Emmy Charron, Teacher/Advisor Courtney Poquette and Partnership for Change fellow Beth Brodie to learn about how the school supports students to develop plans to identify their interests and reach their goals. Are you a Winooski parent, student or recent graduate who wants to get more involved? Text or call Infinite at 802-310-6161.
OVER 50 FAMILIES TRY NEW FAMILY-FRIENDLY PROGRESS REPORT
July 15, 2013 - Between June 15th and July 15th more than 50 family members and students from Somalia, Bhutan, Nepal, Burundi and Rwanda tested the new Family Friendly Progress Report. Parents shared that they found it easy to use and understand. We heard from many families how helpful it is! What’s next — families signed up to request meetings with students and guidance counselors to begin developing a plan to reach college-readiness goals. Burlington New American Parents for Change is committed to making sure all New American families receive this new family-friendly report as part of regular school quarterly progress reports — so that students and families better understand academic progress and develop a plan to reach their goals to achieve college-readiness.
BURLINGTON UPDATE ON PUBLIC ACTION COMMITMENT: NEW TOOL READY FOR TESTING!!!
New Student Report to Understand Academic Progress and Path to College-Readiness
June 12, 2013 - Seven months ago, Burlington Parents for Change leaders asked school leaders to commit to working with us on a new communication tool to help explain BHS student progress toward grade-level expectations and college-readiness. Parents for Change leaders are working with the school to help families and students try out this report to see if it is useful. Parents and students can try it at http://www.partnershipvt.org/ffp
On Saturday, June 15th at 1pm at the Somali Bantu Association, Mohamed Abdi and Shadir Mohamed have helped to organize a community meeting with BHS students and families to try the tool. ELL Director Linda Walsleben and teachers Jill Jacobelli and Suzy King will also attend the meeting. Madhu Neupane and Aline Niyonzima are organizing meetings with Bhutanese Nepali, Burundian and Rwandan families and students as well. Planning for meetings with Burmese families is also underway. These meetings are to test the tool to find out if it is useful and to provide information to students and families to help plan for college and career goals.
Winooski Parents for Change Leaders meet with WHS Principal Leon Wheeler
June 9, 2013 - On Sunday, June 9th, parents and family members from the Burundian and Bhutanese Nepali communities met with WHS Principal Leon Wheeler to learn more about student promotion at the high school and pathways to college-readiness. Student promotion was identified through our one-to-one meetings. In a community meeting, we picked this issue to start our research process. Here are the research questions Parents for Change leaders discussed with Principal Wheeler.
- What role do teachers/staff/guidance/administrators play in the student promotion process?
- How do you set the academic criteria for a student to make sure the student has enough skills before moving to the next grade level? Do students move to the next grade level even if they don’t have the grade-level skills? Who makes this decision?
- How are students and parents informed about the student promotion process? How is the promotion process explained to students so that they can prepare for the class they are being promoted?
- How do you communicate with families the areas that a student needs to improve? What supports are available to students and how is this communicated to students and to parents?
- How does the school work with students and families to develop career and college-readiness goals and to plan for post-high school options?
We expect to continue our research meetings with teachers and guidance counselors at Winooski High School. Parents for Change leaders will also share what we are learning with our communities as we work to better understand this issue and possible solutions. Interested in joining us? Contact Infinite@parentsforchangevt.org or 802-310-6161.
Winooski Parents for Change Leaders Continue Research on Student Promotion
May 28, 2013 - On Sunday, June 9th, Winooski leaders will meet with WHS Principal Leon Wheeler to continue their research the student promotion policies at Winooski High School. If you are a Winooski parent, interested in participating, please contact Infinite at 802-310-6161 or email@example.com.
Sharing Our Organizing Approach
May 28, 2013 - From June 3-5, community partners from the other 3 Nellie-Mae funded sites will be visiting us. The Annenberg Institute of School Reform has coordinated this field trip. Parent leaders and community organizers from Portland and Sanford, Maine and Pittsfield, New Hampshire will learn about the PICO organizing approach that we utilize in our work. On Tuesday, there will be a dinner to honor Parents for Change leaders.
Parents for Change Leaderes Discuss New Draft Student Progress Report update from Infinite
May 20, 2013 – Several Parents for Change leaders met to discuss the new draft progress report for English Language Learners. A significant focus of this meeting was about how Burlington leaders and parents see their role as powerbrokers in helping students to meet high school graduate expectations. One of the questions considered was, what does our role as parents look like?
Common themes that emerged were:
In some countries, it is the responsibility of school faculty and staff to ensure students are learning and disciplined.
As New American Leaders and parents gain a greater understanding of their children’s educational experience this progress report can become a tool that helps them to utilize their power.
It is important for Parents for Change leaders to help identify and engage New American parents of high school and some middle school age children in order to get feedback on the usefulness of the new draft of the English Language Learner Progress reports.
Family-Friendly Report on Burlington High School Student Progress
May 28, 2013 - With Burlington High School, Parents for Change has received a mini-grant from the Family-School Partnership implementation team to create a prototype of a new family-friendly progress report for English Language Learners. This report will more clearly shows progress toward college-readiness. A web tool is be created through which students, teachers and families can input courses taken and print a report to identify where they are on the pathway to college. This draft report, designed with New American parent leaders, is a follow-up to the Student Placement action. In June, we will work with Bhutanese Nepali and Somali Bantu family leaders to host community workshops to support families and students in using this new tool. The Family-School Partnership fellow will also pilot end-of-year conferences with students and families to review progress.
Welcome Meg Cline and Infinite Culcleasure
April 29, 2013 – Meg Cline and Infinite Culcleasure have joined the Parents for Change team as part-time community organizers. Meg can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 802-310-6161. Infinite can be reached at email@example.com or 802-310-1059. Contact us to schedule a one-to-one conversation. Click here to read more about what we do.
Thank you to Peter Garang Deng!
April 29, 2013 – We thank Community Organizer Peter Garang Deng for all of his work with New American parents! We appreciate the great contributions Peter Garang has made to our work over the past two years. Peter Garang is leaving Parents for Change to focus on his foundation and business in South Sudan. We wish him much luck, and look forward to continuing to hear about his progress.
New American Leaders Share Culture with Vermont Interfaith Action Leaders
April 14, 2013- Parents for Change New American Leaders gathered with leaders of Vermont Interfaith Action congregations to share food and cultural traditions.
Winooski New American Parent Leaders Hold Research Meeting on Student Promotion
March 23, 2013- Winooski New American Parents for Change leaders held their first research meeting to learn more about how students are promoted from grade-to-grade within Winooski Schools. Leaders met with Winooski English Language teacher, Inge White, on Saturday, March 23rd. As a next step, leaders will be meeting with WHS Principal Leon Wheeler to learn more about how the current system works. If you are interested in getting involved, email firstname.lastname@example.org
Progress on Burlington Student Placement Action
March 18, 2013 - Burlington New American Leaders gathered for dinner and had a chance to visit with Mayor Miro Weinberger during the Mayor’s Week in the Schools at BHS. The dinner was followed by the first 3-month progress review meeting on the commitments from the Student Placement Action. New American leaders included Shadir Mohamed, Mohammed Abdi, Somo Mohammed, Abdullahi Mohamed, Noel Mukeza, Jeetan Khadka, Madhu Neupane and Harka Khadka and School Leaders Jeanne Collins, Amy Mellencamp, Henri Sparks, Patty Wesley and Julie Cadwallader-Staub. Kathy Mathis, Nijaza Semic, Nancy Knox, Eric Agnero, Charlie Rathbone, Dawn Moskowitz and Garang Deng also attended the meeting.
- STUDENT PLACEMENT: Patty Wesley and Madhu Neupane shared major progress on revising the student placement questionnaire and process. Their team, which expanded to include Larissa Urban, Sara Crothers and Ganga Sharma, has met twice, researched the process in other schools, and drafted a new questionnaire as well as a simplified summary of the process. The next steps include a review by the full multi-lingual liaison team as well as gathering comments and feedback from New American communities. A new section on student goals and interests, to be discussed with the student and family as part of the intake process, has been added. The goal is to have the new questionnaire and process in place by June. We will pursue opportunities to connect this work with the Partnership for Change and the vision of Personalized Learning Plans. If you are a Burlington New American high school student or family member interested in seeing a draft of the new questionnaire or joining the team, please email email@example.com
- INTRO TO AMERICAN SCHOOLS: The team, led by Henri Sparks and Jeetan Khadka, has met several times. Kathy Mathis and Nancy Knox were brought into the team to coordinate with existing family partnership efforts. The team has drafted a detailed list of topics to explain the Burlington Schools to families. They have requested that New American leaders prioritize one area that is the top priority to create the first video. The next step requires a discussion and decision from New American leaders.
- TRAINING FOR MULTI-LINGUAL LIAISONS: Linda Walsleben and Aline Niyonzima organized this team and brought in Multi-lingual Liaison Coordinator Nijaza Semic as well as several Multi-lingual liaisons to discuss the areas where liaison training is needed. Multi-lingual liaisons are now video-taping the trainings they receive, so that all liaisons will have access. The team came up with a comprehensive list based on questions they receive from families. This included more training on the United States schooling system as well as supports available for students. Linda reminded us that based on the Student Placement Action, the focus needs to come back to student placement for college-preparation. Nijaza Semic suggested that a video explaining some basics about registration and how schools work would be very useful tools for liaisions.
- COMMUNICATION TOOL TO SHARE STUDENT PROGRESS TOWARD GRADE-LEVEL EXPECTATIONS AND COLLEGE-READINESS: Amy Mellencamp shared a draft of a graph to better communicate with families student achievement in their courses that included a summary of the courses required to graduate, to enter a four-year college, as well as an area that lists courses taken. Shadir Mohamed raised a question about how to communicate the skills students are getting, for example, in writing. It was suggested that the team do more research to identify some type of tool that identifies student progress in Reading, Writing and Math. We will explore opportunities to connect this with the Partnership for Change.
In March, April and May work will continue to make these changes. The next progress meeting will be scheduled for June.
Neighborhood Community Organizer Update
March 12, 2013 - We are excited to share that we have received many applications for our part-time organizer position. We are no longer accepting applications (our search closed on March 11th). We are reviewing resumes and will begin interviewing candidates on March 22nd. We hope to hire for this position and have our new organizer begin in April!
Winooski New American Leaders Outline Next Steps on Research into Student Promotion
February 23, 2013 - Organizer Garang Deng and leaders from the Winooski New American community gathered to discuss how to build power and next steps as they begin to research the student promotion process in Winooski. Leaders developed a set of questions and planned their research meeting with Winooski High School English Language Teacher Inge White.
We are Hiring a Part-Time Neighborhood Community Organizer!
February 9, 2013 – We are accepting applications for a part-time Neighborhood Community Organizer until March 11, 2013. To see the job description and and how to apply Click Here.
Burlington New American Leaders Discuss Next Steps from Student Placement Action
February 4, 2013 - New American leaders from the Burundian, Bhutanese and Somali communities discussed the next steps from the Student Placement Action and December meeting with leaders. Teams have begun to meet to take the next steps on the commitments:
- A New Student Placement Questionnaire and Clear Process
- An Introduction to the American Schools
- Training for Multi-lingual Liaisons
- New Communication Tool to share student progress (toward reaching grade-level and college-readiness skills)
In February and March, New American leaders Madhu Neupane, Aline Niyonzima, Abdi Sharif, and Jeetan Khadka will be reaching out to members of their communities to share updates and to recruit more community members to participate on the teams working on each goal. New American leaders decided that the best way to share progress and gather feedback from the community would be through a large potluck in April. Leaders also expressed the desire to share their cultures with each other at this type of gathering, as well as progress on the Student Placement goals. I
Many Parents for Change Leaders Engage in Graduate Expectations Conversation
February 2, 2013 – Record numbers of Parents for Change leaders from throughout Winooski and Burlington participated in the Partnership for Change Graduate Expectations conversation on February 2nd! Many of the parents and family members we have reached out to over the course of the year came out to share their priorities about “What Graduates Need to Succeed.” Over 300 people attended — including teachers, students, parents, community members as well as elected officials, business and non-profit leaders. Parent for Change leaders reached out to their neighbors, friends and community members to bring them into this discussion to reshape Winooski and Burlington High Schools so that all students develop the skills they need for college, a good job, and to build a stronger community.
Burlington New American Leaders Meeting
Parent leaders from the Burundian, Bhutanese Nepali and Somali communities will meet on Monday, February 4th. They will discuss progress on the four Student Placement goals, review their experiences participating in the February 2nd Partnership for Change Graduate Expectations conversation and make plans to update their communities and involve more families in the work with Burlington School leaders.
Winooski Bhutanese Nepali Family Meeting
January 19, 2013
Winooski Bhutanese Nepali Families met and picked “student promotion” as the issue they want to research and help change. Leaders from this community will work with leaders from the Burundian and Somali communities. About 20 community members attended this meeting.
They picked student promotion after a discussion about the top issues:
- Student Promotion (how to ensure that students have the necessary grade level skills to be promoted)
- Career-Readiness (opportunities connected to exploring careers)
- School Transportation
Thank you to Community Organizer Garang Deng and Community Leaders Raghu Acharye, Ghana Rimal and Puspa Luitel for bringing the families together. And a big thank you to Puspa Luitel for interpreting!
Following our meeting, Bhutanese Nepali community members met with the Partnership for Change for a learning conversation about what is most important for kids to learn before they graduate from high school. This conversation will continue across Winooski and Burlington parents, teachers, students and community members on February 2nd.
Parents for Change Organizer and Leader Participate in NYC School Visits
January 6, 2013
Community Organizer Dawn Moskowitz and Parent Leader Madhu Neupane joined a group of 31 teachers, students, parents and community members from Burlington and Winooski to visit high schools in New York City. The tour was organized by the Partnership for Change so that we could see schools where students graduate based on demonstrating their skills and knowledge through projects and presentations. We also visited schools that focus specifically on providing a challenging program for students who are new to the country and do not yet know English well. In all of these schools we saw very caring, welcoming communities, and learning that is linked to “real life.” Everyone who went on the trip will be part of the the Partnership for Change Community Conversation about “What Kids REALLY Need to Know and Do” to thrive as young adults. Please join us:
What DO Kids REALLY Need to Know and Do?
What Do Our Graduates Need to Succeed?
Saturday, February 2nd
Burlington High School
Lunch & Childcare Provided
Transportation from O’Brien Center in Winooski to Burlington High School
Please RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org or 802-363-2343
More at http://www.partnershipforchangevt.org
Reaching Out to Parents in Winooski
December 13, 2012
Community Organizer Dawn Moskowitz went door-to-door in the Elm Street neighborhood in Winooski to meet parents and hear about their hopes and dreams for their children’s education. We connected with 8-10 families and hope to work with parents to organize a neighborhood meeting soon. Families and students expressed an interest in seeking more opportunities to explore careers, learn in the community and develop skills connected to job opportunities.
Burlington New American Parents for Change Leaders Meet with School Leaders
December 10, 2012
New American Parent Leaders met with School Leaders Jeanne Collins, Amy Mellencamp, Henri Sparks, Linda Walsleben and Patty Wesley to move forward on the commitments made at the Student Placement Action. Madhu Neupane and Patty Wesley are leading the work group to re-design the student placement process. Jeetan Khadka and Henri Sparks are leading the work group to develop an “Introduction to the American Schools.” Aline Niyonzima and Linda Walsleben are leading the work group to develop a comprehensive training program for multi-lingual liaisons. Abdi Sharif and Amy Mellencamp are leading the work group to develop new communication tools to more clearly share information about student skill level and college readiness and to more quickly and clearly communicate with families about academic or behavioral challenges. Each work group will meet in January to begin these projects. The leaders will meet together again on March 18th.
Parents for Change leaders will help reach out to community members to seek their participation in making these important changes.
Parents for Change Student Placement Action A Success!
November 12, 2012
Members of the Burundian, Somali Somali, Somali Bantu, and Bhutanese/Nepali communities presented their thorough research about the student placement process at Burlington High School; shared stories from students, multi-lingual liaisons, and parents. The presentation was made to a crowd of over 150 community members. Burlington school leaders enthusiastically agreed to work together to pursue recommendations to improve student placement and communication with families. In December, New American Parents for Change Leaders and School Leaders will sit down together to work out the next steps.
Check out the program, summary of research and full research report (available as a pdf):
Voices for Vermont’s Children Community Organizers worked closely with Vermont Interfaith Action, who provided support and training over many months. It was a special occurrence to see so many diverse members of the Burlington community come together, empowered to speak out, enabled to listen to one another, and pledging to work together for the benefit of the next generation of Burlingtonians.