Community Engagement

Our Partners Include:

  • The Center for Literacy
  • Acción Comunal Latinoamericana de Montgomery County
  • The Maternity Care Coalition
  • Norristown Area School District

Activities and Outreach:

  • Collaboration with Norristown Schools on Parent Involvement

As Mexicans move to areas of the United States that have had few Latino residents, towns across the country are experiencing rapid and unfamiliar demographic changes. The enrollment of newcomer immigrant children in schools presents both opportunities and challenges, not the least of which is how schools can build productive relationships with immigrant families. The University of Pennsylvania Graduate School of Education and the Norristown Area School District have collaborated to increase parent involvement among Spanish-speaking families with children in Norristown schools. Accomplishments to date include the development of after-school homework support programs in several schools, the creation of a Latino parent advisory council and production of an ethnographic film. In four elementary schools, we have helped create resource rooms staffed by bilingual educators where parents help their children with homework and learn more about school procedures and community resources. We have also helped launch a Latino parent council, which meets monthly and allows parents to articulate their concerns and share them with the school district. Finally, we have produced an ethnographic film that represents Mexican parents' perspectives on their children's education -- both things they appreciate and things they would like to improve. The film is now being used in the district's professional development.