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Parent Involvement Opportunities in Albuquerque Public Schools

Journal Staff Writer
      Opportunities for Parent Involvement in most APS Schools

    Parent Teacher Associations (PTAís): The main parent group at most schools, PTAís meet regularly to discuss issues pertaining to the experiences of students on campus and engage in fund-raising to pay for special events or to augment the schoolís resources for instruction or extra-curricular activities. They may also act as the organizing body for parent volunteers- overseeing any number of volunteer committees. PTA presidents and other officers are typically elected in a vote of parents. Membership is open to any parent of a student at the particular school. Contact the school office or the school website for meeting and election information.

    Parent Teacher Organizations (PTOís): Similar to PTAís but not affiliated with the state or national PTA. Other names that are used that have similar functions are: Student, Parent, Staff Organization, Parents Advisory Association, and Parents, Teachers, Students Organization.

    Instructional Councils (IC): Made up primarily of administrators and teachers, ICís make curriculum decisions at the school level. They exist in most APS schools, and typically have one or more seats reserved for parent representation. Contact a school administrator for information on how to go about serving on the IC.

    Principal Selection Committees: At least two parents are typically on the interview committees when hiring new principals.

    Individualized Educational Plans (IEP): When a student is referred for special education, parents or legal guardians are asked to participate in an IEP. IEPís are planning meetings in which a studentís exceptionalities are discussed and educational plans are generated to accommodate the studentís specific needs. Teachers, the schoolís evaluation specialist, an administrator, and other school staff are present. Whenever a change is made in a studentís special education status, an IEP must be held.

    Student Assistance Teams (SAT): SATís are formed in response to students who are struggling academically, behaviorally, or emotionally in school. They consist of the student, parents or caregivers, teachers, administrators and support staff. The group comes to together to identify the studentís strengths and areas of concern and create a plan of action for modifying his or her school experience in ways intended to help the student succeed. Contact the studentís teacher or counselor to request a SAT team.

    Health/Mental Health Teams: Similar to SATís the Health/Mental Health Teams brainstorm interventions for students who are struggling with social, emotional or health issues. They also spearhead school-wide violence and substance abuse prevention initiatives. Parents can request to be included in health/mental health meetings when their student is being discussed. Contact the school counselor, nurse or principal to request a health/mental health team, or to sit it on a meeting in which school-wide prevention issues are being discussed.

    Opportunities in Some APS Schools

    Albuquerque Community Learning Center Project (ACLCP) Advisory Boards: Funded by 21st Century, ACLCP provides academic enrichment activities after school and in the summers in or around a limited number of schools by cultivating community partnerships and providing thematic lessons and hands-on exploration in each community. Community members must make up at least 51% of each ACLCP advisory board. Each board is parent driven and has decision making power over how to spend project budgets. The projects are housed in elementary schools or in community centers adjacent to the schools. The Project Coordinator, Michael Lujan can be reached at: 842-3648 or lujan_m@aps.edu

    ACLCP sites and contacts:

  • Barelas Community Center, Contact: Margaret Vigil: 848-1343
  • La Luz Elementary School: Contact: Ellen Davis: 321-5377
  • South Broadway (Dennis Chavez Community Center) Contact: 764-8867
  • East San Jose: Contact: Margaret Marquez: 764-2005.
  • Reginald Chavez : contact Donna Montano: 764-2008 x 28100
  • Thomas Bell Community Center. Contact: Marquez Simmons: 848-1332
  • Kirtland Elementary School: Contact: Dee Lucero: 255-3131 x 51101
  • Santa Barbara Martineztown Contact: Veronica Apodaca: 764-2607
  • Whittier Elementary School. Contact: Dianne Kinabrew: 507-6388

        Engaging Latino Communities for Success (ENLACE): An entirely parent-run organization, ENLACE has a presence in eighteen APS schools. A parent room is run entirely by parents and family members on school grounds and provides a comfortable place for parents to gather and advocate for students. Students themselves access the room for tutoring or to talk about their problems. Parents participate in Knock and Talks- visiting the homes of families whose children are not attending school to determine what they need to help them get to school. There is also a mentoring available with UNM. Contact the parent liaison at the school for more information. For more general information call Karen Sanchez-Griego at 277-5481 or kgriego@unm.edu

        ENLACE Sites:

  • Albuquerque High School
  • Valley High School
  • West Mesa High School
  • Del Norte High School
  • Washington Middle School
  • Truman Middle School
  • Garfield Middle School
  • Ernie Pyle Middle School
  • Polk Middle School
  • Alamosa Elementary School
  • Armijo Elementary School
  • Carlos Rey Elementary School
  • Lavaland Elementary School
  • Los Padillas Elementary School
  • Duranes Elementary School
  • La Luz Elementary School
  • East San Jose Elementary School
  • Lowell Elementary School

        Even Start Families for Literacy Program: Even Start promotes family literacy by addressing the literacy needs of students and family members through collaboration between APS and community providers. Even Start includes a parent education component and regular parent meetings.

        Even Start sites:

  • Adobe Acres Elementary School: 873-2250
  • Alamosa Elementary School: 831-6615
  • Carols Rey Elementary School: 836-1488
  • Dolores Gonzales Elementary School: 247-1840 x 45255
  • Hodgin Elementary School: 881-9855 x 27155
  • Kit Carson Elementary School: 873-6062
  • La Mesa Elementary School: 262-1581 x 54196
  • Lavaland Elementary School: 836-4911 x 65145
  • Mission Avenue Elementary School: 344-5269 x 57309
  • Painted Sky Elementary School: 379-4821

        Youth Development, Inc. (YDI) Academies of Excellence Parent Advisory Boards: YDI operates after school academic enrichment and reading and math programs in five schools. The KAPLAN reading and math program Performance of Excellence is used. There is a parent advisory board that oversees all five sites with eleven seats. Each site has its own parent advisory board, as well, with five seats each. Contact: Margie Aragon at 242-7306 for general information, or ask for the coordinator of the Academies of Excellence program at your studentís school.

        Academies of Excellence sites:

  • Jimmy Carter Middle School
  • Truman Middle School
  • Lavaland Elementary School
  • Duranes Elementary School
  • Carlos Rey Elementary School

        Cluster level

        Highland Cluster

        1. Goal Teams: The cluster works on goals in the areas of academic performance, preparation for post-secondary education and systems alignment. There is parent representation on each of the Goal Teams. There is also a parent committee on the systems goal team to help facilitate the town hall meeting process.

        2. Surveys: Schools administer surveys periodically to gauge the level of satisfaction of visitors to the school in having their issues addressed.

        3. Town Hall meetings: Administrators, staff, and parents from all Highland Cluster schools are invited to participate in quarterly town hall meetings where problems and issues are identified and solutions generated in a large group process. The District also shares data and other information with the community at the town hall meetings. For more information contact the cluster leader principal, Debbie Montoya at: 299-0796.

        Rio Grande Cluster

        1. Juntos Para Los Ninos: The 20 academically neediest kindergarteners are identified at the beginning of each school year. Home visits are made and parents are required to volunteer monthly in the classroom. Parenting skills are enhanced around how to engage their children in learning. This program is available in each of the Rio Grande Cluster elementary schools. Contact the school principal for more information.

        2. Parent and Community House Meetings are held through out the south valley community to discuss issues related to student teaching and learning. The Rio Grande Cluster Service Team (CST) hosts and facilitates these meetings. Contact the CST at 878-6171 for more information.

        Department level

        1. Facilities Support and Operation: Every project in design (with the exception of small projects such as roofing) has a building committee which is comprised of at least two parents. Currently there are 40 separate building committees with parent representation. Some committees have more than two parents on them. Contact: Karen Alarid at 848-8818, or visit http://construction.voteaps.com/ for monthly updates on projects.

        2. Fine Arts: Community Advisory Council: This consists of six members, with one position designated for a parent. Contact: Janet Kahn at 880-8249 x340 or kahn@aps.edu

        3. Food Services and Health/Mental Health Services: Physical Activity and Nutrition Advisory Committee (PANAC): This group currently has a membership of nineteen parents; approximately five participate actively in planning meetings with a variety of APS representatives to make recommendations on how the District can improve physical activity and nutrition. Membership is open to additional parents. Contact Jenny McCary at 345-5661 x26 for more information.

        4. Health/Mental Health Services:

        Asthma Advisory Board: Two parents currently sit on this Board that oversees the implementation of a large federal grant to educate students, teachers and communities on asthma and introduce environmental prevention and policy measures around asthma issues. Seats on the Board are open to any interested parent. Contact Laura Burkhard at 342-7202.

        District Counseling Program Advisory Council: The purpose of the committee is to help set program goals, provide support, offer advice, review activities and advocate for the school counseling program in the community. The committee provides communications between the school and the community. The Council meets twice/year and consists of four or five parents, as well as teachers, administrations and other District and Department staff. Contact Laura Owen for more information: 342- 7224 or owen_l@aps.edu

        Prevention Advisory Committee (PAC): This is a group of community providers, advocates, city and state government agency representatives, parents, school-based staff and APS prevention coordinators who meet on an as-needed basis to align their work and brainstorm how to best promote substance abuse and violence prevention initiatives city-wide. The number of parent seats on the committee is open. Contact: Sonja Martens at 342-7274 or martens@aps.edu

        5. Indian Education Parent Committee: The parent committee is an elected committee, comprised of a seven member board which represents the American Indian community District-wide. The committee meets monthly to assist in making decisions on issues in APS and the community that impact American Indian students in an urban setting. The meetings include one-hour training programs for parents that address APS programs, processes & procedures pertinent to building the knowledge base of parents, i.e., IEP/SAT hearings, graduation requirements, etc. The Indian Education Unit sponsors additional workshops for parents and community members throughout the year covering a variety of topics. Participation at the trainings is open. Contact the Indian Education Unit at 884-6392 or: http://www.aps.edu/APS/IndianEd/ for more information.

           6. Language and Cultural Equity:

        Bilingual Education and Alternative Language Services Parent Committee: This is a body of parents designed to represent each school in APS in regard to the implementation of Title III programs which include English as a Second Language, English Language Acquisition, and Bilingual Education programs. Each school is asked to send one representative to the Committee which identifies issues and makes recommendations to Language and Cultural Equity regarding their services, and takes information back from the committee to their respective school communities. The Committee meets twice per year. Parents and caregivers can contact his or her childís school if interested in serving on the Committee.

        Translation Services: This unit provides translation of essential documents for non-English speaking parents. Interpretation services for student hearings and special education meetings are also provided. Contact: Tomas Butchart at 881-9429 x80071 or butchart@aps.edu

        7. Schools & Community Partnerships:

        Albuquerque Reads: Some companies offer their employees a chance to volunteer in a limited number of elementary schools to support the development of reading in kindergarteners. Since many employees are parents of school-age children, this offers an opportunity for parents to be involved in the academic development of children in their communities. Contact Bernadette Madrid at 872-8851 or Madrid_bj@aps.edu

        Community Schools: This is an initiative in APS to develop sustainable connections between schools and the communities they serve. This includes service learning, developing smaller learning communities, and engaging parents in strategic planning to identify needed services that can be offered in or around schools. Contact Tony Watkins at 855-5271 or Watkins_t@aps.edu

        8. Special Education: Parent Advisory Board: The Board consists of the director and nine parents, representative of each special education category. The Board meets monthly to discuss parent concerns and to review the Special Education budget. The Board also delivers parent trainings on the Individualized Educational Plan (IEP) process.

        There is a partnership between Special Education and Parents Reaching Out, which calls with concerns they have difficulty resolving at the school level. Seats are currently filled, but contact Debi Hines at 247-1012 or hines_d@aps.edu for more information, or visit the Special Education website.

        9. Teaching and Learning Systems:

        Early Childhood: An Early Childhood Collaborative made up of representatives from the City, UNM, Head Start, Title I, and private preschool providers meet regularly to plan how to improve the transition of students from preschool to kindergarten. The meetings are open to parent participation. Other goals of the group are to identify quality standards for preschool teachers, educate parents on quality practices, and to create a more seamless preschool system for parents to access. Contact Heather Vaughn for more information: 880-8249 x159

        Title I: This federal funding is provided to high poverty schools for supplementary services to help students achieve academically. 1% of the money is set aside at the school level for parent involvement activities. The amount depends on the number of qualifying students. The school writes a parent involvement plan as part of their proposals each year that describes how the money will be used. Information on how the parent involvement portion of a schoolís Title I money is being used can be obtained by asking the school principal. For more general information contact: Gregg McMann at 880-8249 or mcmann_g@aps.edu

        District level

        School Health Advisory Council: This group makes recommendations to the school board on the development, implementation, revision, monitoring and evaluation of the School Wellness Policy. The policy includes guidelines and requirements regarding physical activity, behavioral health and safety, fundraising, and review of contracts with outside vendors. The Council meets at least twice/year and reports to the Board annually. At least one seat is reserved for parents. Other members include school food authority personnel, school board members, representatives from the Health/Mental Health Department, school administration, school staff, students and community members. Contact Jenny McCary at 345-5661 or mccary@aps.edu

        Student, School and Community Service Center: this is the customer service department for the District. The Service Center facilitates resolutions of conflicts between students or families and schools or District departments. Contact the Help Line at: 842-3742.

        Office of Equal Opportunity Services: This is the internal mechanism for handling complaints of discrimination from students, employees, or parents/legal guardians who are acting on behalf of students and feel they have been discriminated against on the basis of race, color, sex, sexual orientation, national origin, religion, or age. Contact: Charles Becknell at 872-1252 or becknell@aps.edu

        Community groups

        Albuquerque Indian Center (AIC): Provides advocacy on issues impacting native people, prevention activities and a wide array of support services including employment counseling, and job training. AIC utilizes traditional sweat lodges and talking circles. Contact: 268-4418

        Albuquerque Partnership: This is a locally-driven advocacy group that organizes community members to make improvements in safety, substance abuse prevention, health and education in their communities. The Albuquerque Partnership interfaces with neighborhood associations, law enforcement and APS staff. Contact information: 247-9222; www.abqpartnership.org. The Albuquerque Partnership is currently active in:

  • Barelas Neighborhood Association
  • Alamosa Neighborhood Association
  • Santa Barbara Martineztown
  • Sawmill Area
  • South Valley Coalition of Neighborhood Associations (nine associations)
  • Trumbull Village Neighborhood Association
  • Asociacion de Comerciantes Latinos de Alburquerque
  • Lambda Theta Phi Fraternity
  • Lambda Theta Alpha Sorority
  • Macedonia Baptist Church
  • Emmanuel Baptist Church

        Albuquerque Association for Gifted and Talented Students (AAGTS): A nonprofit organization for parents and teachers dedicated to maximizing the potential of gifted children in New Mexico. It provides an extensive library of materials available for checkout at regularly scheduled meetings. AAGTS, founded in 1975, takes a strong advocacy role in connection with public school programs and services for gifted children. The Albuquerque Association for Gifted and Talented Students sponsors an annual fall conference highlighting gifted education issues. Contact: info@aagts.org

        Community Health Partnership: Housed at La Mesa Elementary School, four block leaders do community organizing and education around health and education issues in the Southeast Heights. Monolingual Spanish-speaking families are the primary recipients of services. Advocates are available to attend school meetings with parents and to assist with translation. Contact Angelica Regino for more information: 256-0396
        Cornstalk Institute: This nonprofit organization operates after school experiential education/ team-building/ leadership development activities for middle school students from:

  • Jefferson Middle School
  • Washington Middle School, and most recently ,
  • Polk Middle School and
  • Harrison Middle School.

        Middle School students are mentored by high school students from Albuquerque High School and Rio Grande High School, who also provide tutoring. There is no formal governing board for the after school programs, however there are three ďfamily daysĒ/semester in which parents can participate with their children in team-building exercises. Parent focus groups are held periodically, as well, to obtain parent feed-back on the programs. Contact the schools directly, or Cornstalk at 873-1721 or http://www.mattaxling.com

        Enlace Comunitario: A local nonprofit dedicated to serving the needs and promoting the rights of Spanish-speaking immigrants with particular emphasis on serving victims of domestic violence through community development and organizing, and by providing social and legal services. Contact: 246-8972

        Family Leadership for Education, Culture, and Health Access (FLECHA): Trains parents of young children in group facilitation in order to enhance their skills in advocating for their childrenís heath and education needs. Includes a component on getting parents to reflect on their own experiences in school and how this might impact their willingness or ability to become involved in their own childrenís education. Contact: Louise Kahn at 379-3429 or lbkahn@cybermesa.com

        League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC): The largest and oldest Hispanic Organization in the United States, LULAC advances the economic condition, educational attainment, political influence, health and civil rights of Hispanic Americans through community-based programs. he organization involves and serves all Hispanic nationality groups. Historically, LULAC has focused heavily on education, civil rights, and employment for Hispanics. Contact: 243-3787

        National Alliance for the Mentally Ill (NAMI): An advocacy and education group NAMI-Albuquerque offers family support groups, family to family classes, guest speakers, a lending library, and referrals to local services. In Our Own Voice: Living with Mental Illness is a presentation by consumers of mental health services designed to decrease the stigma attached to mental illness and to educate the public on the issues around living with a mental illness. Contact: 256-0288 or www.nami.org

        New Mexico Holocaust and Intolerance Museum and Study Center: An organization dedicated to educating people about the Holocaust and other genocides that have affected people around the world. Speakers are available to address students and teachers at schools and to present to interested groups at the museum. These presentations focus on both historical events and strategies for dealing with hate and intolerance in today's world. The need for respect and acceptance of other people and other cultures is emphasized. Contact: 247-0606 or http://www.nmholocaustmuseum.org

        National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP): A national human rights advocacy group that has a local office in Albuquerque. The mission of the NAACP is to ensure the political, educational, social, and economic equality of rights of all persons and to eliminate racial hatred and racial discrimination. The local NAACP intervenes in claims of discrimination based on race by offering advocacy, support and education. Contact 265-0020

        Neighborhood Association Educational Committees: Some neighborhood associations have committees that address issues specific to the schools in its part of town.

        New Mexico Forum for Youth in Community: New Mexico Out-of-School Time Network (NMOSTN): This is a project focused on building a diverse statewide after school network; garnering the resources necessary to support out-of-school time opportunities for school-age children; assessing breadth and depth of out-of-school time programming, and influencing State policy and legislation. The Out-of-School Time Action Network is comprised of over 40 diverse organizations and groups. Current areas of concentration are: conducting an out-of-school time study that identifies state investment in after school programs, return on investment, and potential for expansion of investment, state level cross-agency task force focused on out-of-school time programming, and support to children, youth, and families in ensuring a basic level of safety in school-age care settings. For more information contact: Clarence Hogue at 821-3574 or clarenc@nmforumforyouth.org

        Parents, Families & Friends of Lesbians & Gays (PFLAG) is a national non-profit organization that advocates for the rights of gays, lesbians, bisexuals and transgender individuals. Support groups and guest speakers are available. Contact: 873-7373

        Parents for Behaviorally Different Children (PfBDC): This is a group that provides education and advocacy for family members who have children with behavioral, emotional, social or psychological challenges. Advocating for student and parent rights with the educational and mental health systems that serve them is one primary function of the group. Contact: 265-0430 or http://www.pbdc.org

        Parents Reaching Out (PRO): A large state-wide organization that connects parents to each other who need support in advocating for their childrenís health and educational needs. PRO matches parents together who have similar needs or issues, and provides parent advocacy and education. PRO includes a program in which parents train prospective teachers and doctors on the issues they face every day as parents. PRO chairs the Family Leadership Alliance Network (FLAN) which brings together family advocacy/education groups for information sharing and collaboration. Contact: 247-0192 or http://www.parentsreachingout.org

        Rio Grande Educational Collaborative (RGEC): This is a nonprofit 501c3 organization that develops partnerships between parents, other community members and schools to increase academic achievement and improve opportunities and quality of life for residents of the South Valley. For more information contact Linda Jackson at 873-6035 or contact one of the following RGEC Community Action Teams or an After School programs at your studentís school.

        Community Action Teams CATs meet regularly to discuss school and community issues. (CATs) are made up of at least 75% parents and must include at least one school staff. Community Action Teams sites:

  • Kit Carson Elementary School
  • Navajo Elementary School
  • Barcelona Elementary School
  • Ernie Pyle Middle School

        After School Programs: Funded with a 21st Century grant, each after school program includes avenues for parents to have a voice in the programs, as well as parent classes. Any parent who has a child enrolled in the program can participate. Content for both parent and child classes include academic enrichment and physical wellness. Classes become forums for parents to discuss issues pertaining to their own lives, the lives of their children, and/or their communities. Parents, students, and staff are surveyed twice/year to get their feedback on the programs.

        After School Sites:

  • Armijo Elementary School
  • Atrisco Elementary School
  • Ernie Pyle Middle School
  • Kit Carson Elementary School
  • Los Padillas Elementary School
  • Valle Vista Elementary School

        Southwest Organizing Project (SWOP): SWOP is a statewide multi-racial, multi-issue, community based membership organization. Its goal is to help give local people a place and voice in social, economic and environmental decisions that affect their lives in order to bring about racial and gender equality and social and economic justice. Contact: 247-8832 or swop@swop.net

        Young Women United: The goal of this group is to develop teenage women of color as critical thinkers and community leaders, and to organize for effective reproductive health education and prevention. in the Albuquerque public school system. Contact Adrian Barboa at 831-8930.