Community & Parents for Public Schools of Seattle

CPPS is a local, grassroots network of parents and community members working together to support and advocate for excellent public schools in our communities, and at the district, city and state levels.

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In December, Holiday food for Thought.

What it means to be engaged...

As parents and community members, we've been asked a lot this fall to listen to district plans and analysis of how they're doing, and to a limited extent, weight in. Is that the kind of parent engagement that will best serve Seattle Public Schools?

This excerpt from an essay by Debbie Pushor, a Canadian teacher educator offers another perspective:

The story of parent involvement in schools in well-known and well-rehearsed (Pushor, 2001). Parents are asked by educators to serve as "audience, spectators, fund raisers, aides and organizers" (McGlip & Michael, 1994). My concern with this story is it maintains the hierarchical structure of schools, where school personnel maintain power and authority, and an agenda in which what parents can do for the school remains the focus. I propose writing a new story - one of parent engagement and leadership - in which power and authority are shared by educators and parents, and the agenda being served is mutually determined and beneficial.

Larry Ferlazzo, a Sacramento HS teacher, who manages the Engaging Parents Blog adds:

When we're involving parents, ideas and energy tends to come from the schools and from government mandates. We tend to sell ideas. School staff might feel they know what the problems are and how to fix them (and generally are well intentioned). When we're engaging parents, ideas tend to be elicited from parents by school (or district staff in the context of developing trusting relationships. More parent energy drives the efforts because they emerge from parent/community needs and priortities.

How are we doing on the spectrum from involvement to engagement to engagement in Seattle? Send your thoughts to us

Connect to CPPS at or on Facebook - there are a wealth of opportunities for parents in Seattle to learn about education issues or join with others to make a difference.  Join Us!


Seattle Public Schools wants families and community members to know how each school is doing - yours, as well as the ones nearby.  The district has issued School Reports this fall -- with data on student achievement, absence rates and student climate - so District staff can learn from, and act on the information to make schools better.  To be successful, school-level educators and district staff will need the help of families and community.

These reports, released on Nov. 9, should kick off an ongoing community conversation about what needs to be done to make our schools better. You have an opportunity to share your perspective and listen to others at the district meetings noted in the calendar below.  You can also join with other parents to discuss what parents want to ensure that your neighborhood schools are quality ones.  For more information, including sample reports, visit the School Reports website and view the October presentation to the School Board, or check out the second annual District Scorecard.


To host a neighborhood discussion about how parents can respond, contact Stephanie.


There are a lot of opportunities to see where the district is heading this month, as well as community opportunities to get post-high-school help!


NELA: Center for Student Success College Planning Webcasts


Understanding and Preparing to file the free application for federal student aid:

  • Dec. 15, 3:30-4-:30 p.m.
  • Dec. 20, 3:30-4:30 p.m.

To register: email: or for more info, 


SPS Student Assignment Transition Plan Input


The last scheduled meetings for community weigh in on New Student Assignment Plan transition for 2011-12 have occurred. For information on feedback to date, click


Send additional suggestions, comments and concerns regarding the implementation of the new student assignment plan for 2011-2012 to:


League of Education Voters Education Advocacy Training

    ACTION UPDATE:  The SE Parent Leadership Project wants to meet your community!

Over the last couple of weeks we've talked to lots of parents in SE Seattle, as we've kicked off our first Parent Leadership Project, and we hope to connect with many more!


For more information about our project, see the powerpoint.


First (and foremost), we are about building parent networks to involve the widest group of parents possible;  We would like to reach out at PTA meetings, school, church/temple and community events or to any small parent groups we can bring together -- Send the date/time/contact for your next group meeting to Cris and we'll try to get someone there!


Second, we have begun to develop our parent training curriculum -- Contact Stephanie to participate in a group discussion about what to include in parent leadership/advocacy curriculum (you don't need to be a SE resident to weigh in...)


Third, we are starting to collect stories that will become the basis for the project video.  Share your story with Andre



What can you do at district and state levels?


It isn't always easy to go beyond the listening and occasional weighing in that is offered to us. That's why CPPS and other local organizations offer trainings, network, and ideas for how to have an impact beyond your child, school or community. Where can you plug?


From the comfort of your home:

  • Write a letter - school boards and legislators NEED to hear from parents and the community to balance what they hear from other stakeholders, including lobbyists, funders, school or district staffs, or other education voices. Sending a letter or email gives you a voice;
  • Participate in surveys or other requests for information/input

Out in the community:

  • Attend a community meeting - CPPS tries to give you as many opportunites as possible to look ahead in the district or state calendars; Beyond that...
  • Organize a local meet-up - gather you friends or neighbors, choose what is important to you and contact us - we can help!

Consider these two specific venues in the month ahead:


In a series of work sessions, the Seattle School Board will discuss how to balance the budget for next year given the large estimated funding gap; examine what factors should be included in the second year of transition to the new student assignment plan; and review enrollment and school capacity. Staff and community input has been gathered related to the student assignment transition plan (through a series of community meetings and via e-mail); and on budget development (via a web-based survey). Dates and times of work sessions are listed on the School Board Calendar and presentations shared at work sessions are available on the  meeting agendas. What can you do? Write a letter - let the board know what you're thinking!


Take OSPI survey, survey, to give input about the goals, stategies, and expected results associated with the following:

  • Lagging mathematics and science performance
  • Literacy and numeracy acquisition in the early grades
  • Student progress in all subjects among students living in urban and rural poverty
  • High school graduation rates
  • Preparedness of all students directly from high school for success in college, university, technical training, and career

Make sure they know what your priorities are!

Through forums, study groups, newsletter communications and more, CPPS brings parents and community members together to discuss issues, get informed, engage, advocate and lead for excellent public education in Seattle.  

We need your participation.  Contact us for more info: 

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Community & Parents for Public Schools of Seattle