School Smarts Parent Engagement Program

School Smarts Parent Engagement Program

School Smarts is an award-winning, research-based program that helps parents help their children succeed in school. The program includes a seven-session Parent Academy with a comprehensive curriculum that fosters parent engagement in education. It encourages parents to promote a complete, high-quality education that includes the arts. The program is generously supported by the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation.

Why does it matter?

Research shows that parent engagement in education improves students' success in school, across all socioeconomic groups. Parent engagement is a longstanding focus of the PTA.

What do parents learn?

Topics that educate and empower parents are covered during the seven Parent Academy sessions, including understanding the education system, communicating effectively, advocating for a quality education, and how important parent involvement is for children and for schools. The Academies and materials are provided in English, Spanish, Cantonese and Arabic. During each session, parents also participate in art activities, which build a sense of community and underscore the importance of a complete education that includes the arts.

Where is the program being offered?

Though still being offered as a pilot program, during the 2013-14 school year, we expect to serve parents in nearly 50 elementary schools in 11 or more districts. Current pilot school districts include:

  • Alameda USD
  • Chino Valley USD
  • Lakeside Union SD
  • Pleasanton USD
  • Pomona USD
  • Riverside USD
  • San Francisco USD
  • Santa Monica-Malibu USD
  • South San Francisco USD
  • Twin Rivers USD
  • Visalia USD

What do participants say about School Smarts?

"School Smarts empowered me as an advocate for myself, children, family and school. I recommend this program to anyone who has an interest in becoming more involved but not quite sure on how to go about it. Thank you School Smarts!"
- Parent Graduate

"I have observed a definite increase in school involvement from parents enrolled in the School Smarts Parent Academy. Many of them regularly attend our monthly 'Coffee with the Principal,' and willingly share their input regarding making our school a great place to learn."
– Elementary School Principal

"I had the honor of participating in School Smarts and it was a fantastic experience! I learned a lot about myself and our school and had the opportunity to meet some great parents. I recommend School Smarts to anyone interested in community building and getting involved in our school!"
- Parent Graduate

"School Smarts has created a new group of young and bilingual parents who have acquired a deeper understanding of their roles in the education of the children at the schools. Two of the PTA presidents for the 2011-12 school year are graduates of the School Smarts academies held in the spring of 2011. The parent engagement is already making a difference."
– PTA Council President

"This is our second year receiving the School Smarts Parent Academy. It has been an amazing program that PTA has been able to offer to our parents. We are really lucky to have the opportunity to participate again this year and find the curriculum of the program extremely valuable. Thank you, PTA!"
– Elementary School Principal

"Through this program the parents feel included, because everybody's on the same level. Parents from all different backgrounds use this curriculum and they learn from it. "
- Facilitator

For more information, or to receive our newsletter, please contact Deanna Fernandes, Director of the School Smarts Program, California State PTA at dfernandes@capta.org or (916) 440-1985, ext. 119.

  • California State PTA program wins national diversity and inclusion award