What is a Parent Center?
Research has shown that Parent Centers are a critical and essential link toward creating an integrated and inclusive school environment. A well run Parent Center may serve as a teacher, social worker, and parent advocate; and has an important role in breaking down barriers, addressing issues of parent self-esteem, and providing knowledge and information to parents in a language they can understand.
Parent Centers provide a safety net for parents to gain know-how across a broad spectrum without embarrassment, provide basic language and social skills and can help parents assimilate to a new culture. The Parent Center also provides a portal, which links the surrounding community to the school and vice-versa. In short, the Parent Center is a critical enabler at schools to help parents expand their capacity to support their children emotionally, socially, and intellectually.
Parent Center Values
Work in the Parent Center should be based on the following values:
· Student achievement is defined as every student reaching their full potential
· Respect is defined as fostering the inherent worth of every individual
· A strong bond between Parent, Student, and Teacher is critical to achievement
· Every school has a unique relationship with its community that can facilitate parent-student-teacher collaboration
· Parent Centers should welcome parents from their school community and conform to their schedules and languages, and provide a list of resources and services
2010-11 Academic Programs for LAUSD Parent Centers
Kindergarten Curriculum – This is a program designed to empower parents and demonstrate to them their ability to support their child’s education. Parents are taught a series of educational games in the areas of literacy and math. Parents are encouraged to play the games with their children as a way of reinforcing what their children learn in school. Activities were developed in collaboration with kindergarten teachers and support the California State Kindergarten Learning Standards.
High Frequency Words (K-3 + Secondary SAT words) – This program provides parents of primary students with a list of 300 of the most frequently used words in the English Language. Parents are taught word games to use with their children to help them to recognize the words and pronounce them. The word list is aligned to Open Court and should be used with students K-3. In addition, secondary students are provided with a list of words drawn from the SAT College Entrance Exam. The goal is for the students to learn the words and their definition.
Family Story Time (K-5) – This is a family literacy program that motivates parents and gives them support for reading and communicating with their children at home. The Parent Center Director with the support of a Parent Community Facilitator conducts the program. Parents are invited to come to a series of workshops where they can experience quality children’s literature and learn about strategies that will help their children become good readers. Books in both English and Spanish are provided for parents to check out.
Family Math (K-12) – These Family Math activities have been aligned with grade level standards, Scott Foresman’s: California Mathematics and the LAUSD Mathematics Instructional Guide (K-Algebra I) and include opportunities for parents and students to develop problem-solving skills and to build an understanding of mathematics with “hands-on” materials. Parents will learn to use such math strategies as: looking for patterns, drawing a graph/picture, working backwards, working together (cooperative learning), and eliminating possibilities. The goals are for parents to learn: how to help their child with math at home, what grade level math standards their child will learn in school this year and how to make math fun.
College Awareness/Preparation Program (6-8) – This program is designed to encourage and support students, who have the potential to become the first in their family to pursue and complete a college education. The program aims to create a partnership between parent and child that values education and encourages the students to improve their academic and life skills, develop leadership qualities and pursue professional careers.
LAUSD schools may contact the Parent Community Services Branch at
(213) 481-3350, to request copies of the Parent Engagement Toolkit featuring the five parent center curriculums listed above.
Los Angeles Unified School District
School, Family and Parent/Community Services
Parent Community Services Branch
1360 W. Temple Street
Los Angeles, CA 90026
(866) 669-7272 or (213) 481-3350
Parent Center Tools