All Posts By

Joann Mickens

Family Involvement vs Family Engagement: What’s the Difference?

The month of November is filled with many holidays and events. Most notably, we have Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and Thanksgiving, each one geared towards enjoyment or time spent with family and friends. However, nestled within the confines of these events is a holiday known as National Parent Involvement Day. National Parent Involvement Day is a day set aside to recognize the influence that parents have on schools and, more importantly, student achievement. It is a day set aside to allow parents to contribute to planned events hosted by their child’s school. As we all know, parent involvement far exceeds...
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Delayed School Return Mandated for Some…Not All

Back to School The return to school for the 2020-21 school year has not been business as usual for educators around the nation.  Gone are the days of cheerful conversations, spirited welcome back rallies, and keynote addresses provided by district superintendents. This year’s return for educators is unprecedented and extremely stressful for all parties involved in the decision-making process.  As the news updates pour in regarding COVID-19 and as mandates are being established by the day or hour, public school leaders find themselves pondering many difficult questions. However, educating students is essential, and these leaders are working long days and...
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School Resources or School Resource Officers

The year 2020 has forced many Americans to reflect on equity in our country especially as it relates to law enforcement. Current times can easily be compared with the Civil Rights Movement, which began in the 1940s and continued into the 1960s. The unrest of that time culminated with then President Johnson signing into law the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Fast forward fifty-six years and the cries of the people can be heard yet again. This time the outcry concerns the treatment of minorities as it relates to law enforcement officers. The senseless killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis, Minnesota...
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Combatting Summer Slide in the Midst of a Pandemic

Welcome to online learning… Discussion board posts due in multiple classes; Paper packets filled with work from multiple teachers; No physical interaction with peers; No teacher physically present to assist or clarify misconceptions; “Are we using Zoom or Google Meets for this lesson today?” This is learning now. This has become the new normal. A Bright Screen The only tangible resource for learning this spring that students have had access to---in equitable situations---has been a lonely electronic device with a bright screen that details how caught up or far behind they have been in all classes. This was online learning...
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Parents for Public Schools in New Book About Parent Leadership Impact

PPS  authored a chapter in the 2019 book, The Ripple Effect in Action: What 7 Parent Leadership Programs Learned from Participatory Evaluation. The project was coordinated by New York University’s Metropolitan Center for Research on Equity and the Transformation of Schools.   Methods A team of Parents for Public Schools parent leaders and staff joined with parent leadership organizations nationwide to form the Parent Leadership Evaluation Network (PLEN). PLEN members received extensive training and coaching from Dialogues in Action in a participatory, qualitative evaluation process designed to elicit evidence of transformative impacts. Evaluation questions included: What kind and quality of...
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Chicago Regional Meeting “Eye Opening”

PPS leaders attending the PPS regional meeting in Chicago, IL on September 28 expressed appreciation for the opportunity to be encouraged and inspired in their efforts at home. At least one participant described the meeting as an “eye opening experience.” The theme, “Strengthening Our Network,” set the tone for major agenda items including Fundraising approaches, roundtable discussions about Diversity, Equity and Charter Schools, and insight about PPS’ new Strategic Plan. “I am so thankful for our donors who believe PPS makes an important difference in the education environment of our public school students and have given money to this organization...
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The 2020 Census: An Undercount Means Communities Miss Out on Money

The country is gearing up for the 2020 Census, set to begin April 1, 2020. For the first time, those responding to the Census will have the option of completing an online questionnaire. Recognizing that the online questionnaire will not be the best option for many, Census officials are geared up to use paper ballots and door-to-door canvassing as second and third options. The Census is a cornerstone of our American republic. James Madison argued vehemently in favor of including the census—known as the enumeration—in the United States Constitution. He meant for the official count of the population to be...
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First Moon Landing Memory

The commemoration of the first moon landing has taken me back to a time when the United States’ explorations into space filled me with wonder. I remember being in elementary school and learning about Sputnik, the Soviet Union’s satellite (a new word for my 6-year old brain) launched into space.  The space race was on, and President Kennedy — a man with a glamorous aura and inspiring words —  announced the United States would not only go into space, but go all the way to the moon! We were going to beat those Russians: they might have been first in...
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Congrats, Former PPS San Francisco Executive!

Courtesy NYC Department of Education. Hydra Mendoza, a founding member and former executive director of the San Francisco Parents for Public Schools Chapter, is now deputy chancellor for Community Empowerment, Partnerships and Communications at the New York Department of Education! We at PPS couldn’t be happier for her! She is featured in the Asian Journal. Check out her continuing story of helping empower parents and communities to positively influence children’s education!
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MS House Education Committee says No to Voucher Expansion

The members of the Mississippi Legislature’s House Education Committee, headed by Chairman Richard Bennett, should stand and take a bow. We applaud each of you for allowing Senate Bill 2675 to die quietly, without it even being considered by the committee deadline on March 5. Great Job!!! We at Parents for Public Schools couldn’t be more delighted! Senate Bill 2675, introduced by Sen. Gray Tollison, amounted to a voucher program, and would have expanded the Education Scholarship Account (ESA) program dollars for public school students with disabilities to include footing the bill for private school student education. Sen. Tollison’s bill...
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