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(JACKSON, MS, February 21, 2024) Parents for Public Schools® (PPS) is thrilled to announce the receipt of a significant expansion grant aimed at fortifying efforts to enhance public education across North Carolina. This $140,000 grant, awarded by Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation, will empower PPS to drive systemic change in collaboration with local partners, fostering a unified force for educational advancement across the state.

With a steadfast commitment to equipping advocates at all levels—from local schools to school districts as well as at the state level—PPS will leverage its Parent Engagement Program (PEP) to drive impactful initiatives with this grant. The core objective is to hold local and state leaders accountable for ensuring the delivery of a high-quality public education for all students in North Carolina.

The strategic plan outlined by PPS includes the following key initiatives:

Relationship Development: During year one, PPS will select a project manager tasked with forging partnerships with local organizations (such as Down Home, NC Pastors for Children, Every Child NCPPS) throughout the state. Also, PPS will lay the groundwork for implementing its Parent Engagement Program (PEP) in targeted regions in North Carolina. As a part of this endeavor, PEP training modules—particularly those that focus on school boards, leadership and advocacy, and data and accountability—will be offered to individuals already engaged with public education advocacy groups.

PEP Cohorts: Year two will witness the expansion of the PEP training modules to include the incorporation of the full PEP curriculum and will escalate the training to include additional areas and increased participation. Further, emphasis will be placed on participants fostering group initiatives, particularly advocating for equitable public education funding and policies that rest in the hands of state lawmakers. Graduates of PEP who are not already connected to partner organizations will also be encouraged to make those connections.

“The Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation has provided PPS a wonderful opportunity to enhance public education advocacy efforts in North Carolina,” remarked Joann Mickens, Executive Director at Parents for Public Schools. “We are looking forward to improving education outcomes within the state by preparing parents and other public education stakeholders to partner with schools to ensure that excellent and equitable education is available to all families. We deeply appreciate the Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation and its commitment to this endeavor.”

About Parents for Public Schools

Parents for Public Schools, Inc. (PPS) was founded in 1991 in Jackson, MS. PPS is a diverse, national organization whose mission is to advance the role of parents and communities in securing a high-quality public education for every childPPS provides professional leadership training that prepares parents and others to become equal partners with and responsible stewards of their public schools.