Four KIPP Colorado parents from Southwest Denver traveled to San Pedro, California in March for Innovate Public Schools’ Parent Leadership Institute. During the three-day conference, they developed their leadership skills and learned how to leverage the power of community organizing to drive change in their schools and communities.
Innovate Public Schools is a nonprofit organization in California that works with school networks to build the capacity of parents, community leaders, and educators in order to support parent and community demand for high-quality public schools.
The parents who attended the conference are committed to building relationships with school staff and supporting school affairs because they believe it is integral to the success of their children. Irene, who is new to the KIPP Team & Family this year, says she plans on sharing the leadership tools she gained with other parents at KIPP Sunshine Peak Academy who are interested in building a parent association.
“I learned that as parents, we have a voice at our children’s school, and it’s important for us to exercise that voice,” she said. “My daughter knows that she can ask me about what’s happening at the school. That builds her trust in me when I can provide her with information and advocate for her needs at the school and in the community.”
Adriana, a KIPP Colorado alumna and current parent, has experience in community organizing and advocating for school choice with KIPP. She attended the Parent Leadership Institute to learn how to build a parent leadership team that works with the Southwest Denver community.
“My family has been involved with KIPP since 2002, both of my brothers and I attended KIPP Sunshine Peak Academy,” said Adriana. “I remember back when we were asked to advocate for the school because they were going to take away funding from it. My brother and I testified at a school board meeting, it was before he was even enrolled to go to KIPP Sunshine Peak Academy. When that happened, I was pregnant with my oldest daughter and my goal was for the school to stay open so she could attend when it was time.”
Now, Adriana’s youngest daughter will begin ECE 4 in the fall as part of KIPP Sunshine Peak Elementary’s inaugural class. Her oldest daughter attends KIPP Northeast Elementary and will transition to KIPP Sunshine Peak Academy next fall.
“I plan to try and get KIPP Sunshine Peak Elementary their permanent building,” she said. “I would like to be part of that. It was cool to see my oldest daughter’s school get their own building, so I want to see that for the new elementary school.”
KIPP Colorado works hand in hand with parents to help raise their voices about matters that affect their children’s schools and communities. The communities our parents create and support are foundational to KIPPsters’ journey to and through college!