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Join Pioneer Valley Project for a Rally and Action to Expand Teacher Home Visits in the Springfield Schools!

Join Pioneer Valley Project for a Rally and Action to Expand Teacher Home Visits in the Springfield Schools!

 

Thursday, May 3rd
Springfield City Hall


5:45pm-Meet on City Hall Steps for Rally then School Committee Meeting

Students Succeed When Parents And Teachers Work Together


Please RSVP by sending an email to Loren at lhalman@pioneervalleyproject.org!
Or RSVP on Facebook by clicking this link!

 
Springfield has one of the lowest graduation rates in the state.  In 2003, The Pioneer Valley Project began to organize to make Springfield schools more open and responsive to parents and families.  Too often schools only contact parents when there is a problem.  PVP, working with the Springfield Education Association (SEA), began the teacher home visit program to change how schools relate to parents by building positive relationships first as the basis for working together for student success.  Home visits have been shown to reduce absenteeism, improve student behavior, increase parent involvement in student education, and ultimately improve academic performance.  In 2005, Springfield schools agreed to expand home visits in collaboration with PVP and the SEA.

Now 13 schools are part of the program, but it is only reaching about 6% of Springfield students.

We need a greater commitment from the Springfield School Committee and the incoming Superintendent to support and expand home visits!
 

We're at a critical point for building and supporting this program as we work to make it a more central part of Springfield's schools:
1) The school district is threatening to cut full-time Parent Faciliators who coordinate the home visit program in schools.  Last year similar cuts hurt the program, and PVP organized to get these positions reinstated.  We need to do the same again this year!

2) A new superintendent will be coming into the Springfield schools, and we want to make the Teacher Home Visit Project one of the top priorities of whoever it is that comes into the position.  The School Committee can make this program a priority for the new superintendent!

3) Across the country, the Home Visit Project is expanding.  In areas where the program is blossoming, their School Committees are strong advocates for the program.  We want to make our School Committee not just a supporter, but an advocate for the program!

Jobs Campaign Update

With the help of VISTA volunteer, Diane Flemmings, PVP has developed a registry of job seekers from among our members and the wider community. Over the last year, PVP helped 42 residents get specialized training to qualify for jobs. Even in the slow economy, we have placed 10 individuals in well-paying jobs.

 

Within this effort, PVP is involved in many different negotiations with institutions such as the UMass Building Authority to set affirmative action goals for $200 million in new construction on the Amherst campus; the City of Springfield about local hiring for tornado reconstruction through the Community Labor Rebuilding Coalition; Smith and Wesson around hiring mandates due to city tax breaks; and the State Highway Department about its hiring mandates.

Teacher Home Visit Program Update

Springfield Public Schools has made teacher home visits a centerpiece of its parent engagement work based on organizing by PVP over the past 7 years.  PVP continues to advocate for the resources and policy change to expand the program.

  

Despite tough economic times, Springfield will greatly expand its parent-teacher home visit program this school year in six schools and create a joint teacher-administrator collaboration process.  A National Education Association Foundation 5-year grant will enable as many as 80% of teachers to participate in home visits in four schools. Two of ten schools awarded funding through the federal Race to the Top program are using funding for home visits, and many more will follow. The Federal magnet grant is expanding home visits to 2 middle and 2 high schools for the first time.

 

At a meeting with PVP in August Schools Superintendent Dr. Alan Ingram, in August to restore funding to parent facilitators who oversee the home visit program in 4 schools. Dr. Ingram agreed to look for funding to do this.

 

The home visit program provides a key to improving the success of students. Elementary school teacher Linda Mariani: "When the parents open the door and their children are excited to see us, they know we're there to help. The parents, in turn, help us to educate the child, reading with them and keeping them on task to complete homework. You see a big change once a student knows that his or her parent is active and cooperating."

 

Click the title of this update to see an article on this program from Spring 2011 in the Springfield Educator publication!

Language Access Campaign Update

PVP led a successful campaign over the past two years to pass a city Language Access Ordinance that will ensure that police, fire, emergency medical, and 911 dispatchers provide equal access to non-English speakers.

 

Over the summer, PVP's Immigrant Organizing Committee has been meeting with the head of the dispatch department to ensure implementation of the ordinance

 

Dispatch has drafted an overall policy statement on language access which will cover all 3 departments (Police, Fire, EMS), and is assembling implementation protocols for each department as recommendations.

 

PVP's Immigrant Organizing Committee continues to be in communication with Dispatch to assemble adequate protocols for the Police Department to ensure fair and equal treatment of the immigrant community in Springfield.

 

Click the title of this update to read an article from MassLive.com about this ordinance!

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