Grassroots Community Development aims to promote and support schools through Collaborative Family Engagement programs. This past fall, Grassroots Community Organizers partnered with Transformation Waco Family Support Specialists, Mrs. Shirley Langston and Mr. Travis Cheatham and launched a Family Engagement Program called PACTT, Parent and Child Time Together. Originally, Shirley Langston created the PACTT program to support the families of Carver Middle School, but when the two schools merged, she and Travis Cheatham worked together to develop the program to support both schools. This program was designed for parents and students to meet together to learn and share best practices that will support their student’s educational success.
The meetings began in October and are held once a month, usually the first Wednesday of each month from 6-7 pm. So far this year, there have been about 8-10 families that have regularly attended the monthly meetings. Topics are intentionally introduced and discussed that pertain to the school’s culture and environment. Some of the topics that have been covered this year have been:
- Ways to Monitor your Child’s Progress: Tutorial on Parent Square and Parent Portal
- “Instead of Asking This, Try This”: A Different Approach for Engaging Students in a Conversation about their Day
- Ways to Support your Child’s Learning
- Advocacy: Tips and Best Practices for Parents and Students to Voice their Concerns
- “School Board?? What’s That?”: General Overview of the Work of School Boards
In the sessions, parents and students are engaged in discussions and role-play activities around the topics. Sometimes they are also given scenarios and work together in small groups to come up with solutions or strategies. The activities have also helped parents and students learn how to utilize and activate their own leadership skills to be informed and create change. The development of the PACTT Program has served as another way for families to make connections within the school, learn and share information, and support each other through the school year process.