With all of the communication methods available today, it seems as though getting the information we need should be a breeze. But in many cases, the opposite is true. There is so much information coming at us that it can be difficult to filter through it to get to what is pertinent.
This is especially true as a parent in a large school district, and even more so if you have multiple children attending different schools. That’s why this year, ABC and CPS partnered to develop a new much-needed role, the District Parent Coordinator. The goal of the District Parent Coordinator is simple: be a resource and an advocate for CPS parents.
To reach this goal, ABC recently hired Paul McMillan. Over the years, Paul has served in many roles in CPS, including as a CPS student, a MORE coordinator, an outreach coordinator, a Linkage Coordinator with Closing the Achievement Gap, a basketball coach, and probably most importantly, as a parent.
“My job is to help connect parents to their children’s schools and keep them engaged,” Paul said. “Ultimately, that engagement leads to more success in the classroom, but it will also help parents understand resources and opportunities available to them, including food services, extracurricular activities, and other wraparound services.”
To help parents connect to their schools, Paul will focus on a few specific areas in his first year. These include:
In addition, Paul will make himself available and accessible to parents throughout the district. “I like to connect directly with parents,” Paul said. “I’m not shy about giving out my cell phone number, email address, and connecting with parents on Facebook messenger. I want to make sure that I’m available to help parents via whatever communication method is best for them
Paul hosted the first virtual parent engagement meeting on December 10, 2020. This event provided an opportunity for parents to ask anything, and questions ranged from “Will CPS go back to the blended learning model?” to “Can we do night or weekend classes?” to “How can parents better connect with teachers and get more time to complete school work?”. Within 12 hours of the event, it already had over 2,500 views from parents who were unable to attend, highlighting the need for more events like it.
When asked what he thinks the most important role is for a parent, Paul says, “Make your voice heard. But to do this, you must be connected, informed, engaged, and aware of what is going on in your children’s school. Be an advocate—if you don’t think something is right, speak up. Or, if something is going well, let the staff know so they can continue doing it.”
The next virtual parent engagement meeting will be in the 3rd quarter of the school year; check the CPS website and Facebook page for details. To connect with Paul directly, email email@example.com.