This week, Hartford Parents University (HPU), Achieve Hartford!, Center for Adaptive Learning (CfAL), and Hartford Public Schools, in collaboration with No Child Held Back (NCHB) and NaMaYa, held a graduation ceremony for 33 parents. The ceremony signified the success in Phase I of an initiative to strengthen the connection between families and schools within Hartford, Connecticut while empowering Parents to take ownership of their child’s individual education plan.

Graduates of the 5-week course along with the subsequent 12 weeks coaching program, are part of an innovative approach, which revolutionizes the way in which children and their caregivers engage in education. The model of this program focuses on providing caregivers the tools and the support necessary to advocate for their child’s learning through a “parent helping parent” approach – and creating personal learning plan for every child. The success of Phase One and the 33 parent graduates represent the future of how education within America is improving.

While talking to graduates of Monday’s ceremony, it is apparent that this initiative instills strong positive changes in their lives as well as the lives of their children. Many of the parent participants acknowledge that they themselves have faced educational challenges. Now, they are actively putting an end to the harsh cycle of educational limits that pass on from one generation to the next.

Inspirations were shared as parents spoke about the pain of seeing their children fail within the school system and not having the tools to support them. Many spoke about the hardships faced when attempting to wade through the bureaucracy of advocating a proper education for their child. Graduates standing on the podium spoke about how this program not only gave them the resources to fight for their children, but also evolved their mindsets to view education as their child’s right; and it is their responsibility as parents to be the driving force behind this process. At the ceremony, program leader and “No Child Held Back” Author, Yovel Badash stated “Today we are taking another step forward in history as we scale the implementation of this vision across Hartford, Connecticut and the world…this step further proves the power of our vision in people’s lives with real life examples.”

The success of Phase I provides the community of Hartford with the infrastructure to become a National model for child-centered learning, stronger bonds between families and schools and parent advocacy within the education system.

Results signify the effectiveness of the program, with parent understanding on student-centered learning more than doubling in number. Throughout the program, 90 percent of parents sourced academic information on their children, while also working on identifying in-district and out-of-district resources for their child. The program saw 14 families provided with computers, training, and one year of free Internet to support accessibility to learning the original source. Later this month, 20 parents and their children will be finishing a 12-week coaching program facilitated by HPU parent leaders; resulting in individual learning plans for every child of these families.

It is clear that the partnership between HPU and NCHB has provided the citizens of Hartford the ability to better advocate for their children while also becoming beacons of support within their local community for other parents to follow this path. Since the completion of technology training, a staggering 75% of parents have continued to meet with their coaches to further advocate for their child’s education. The empowerment of parents was engrained within the course and is now being seen in the continued drive for graduates to believe in their child’s future and actively support them in achieving both educational and life goals.

After six months of working with parents, schools and children within Hartford, the infrastructure of parent coaches has been established to ensure the vision of HPU and NCHB continues on to evolve and prosper. This graduation ceremony represents a successful example for an education system that is child-centered, parent-driven and places a higher value on the importance of a strong bond between families and schools. With the continued support of HPU coaches, all of Monday’s graduates will surely put an end to the cycle of educational injustice our students face today. children to positively engage within schools, and the community. Parents were encouraged to reflect on their child’s unique strengths, motivations, and learning styles so that they have the knowledge to advocate for their child’s dreams and future. The NCHB program is part of an innovative approach, which revolutionizes the way in which children and their caregivers engage in education. The positive statistical and social transformations achieved in Hartford is just Phase 1. The collaborative effort lays a sound foundation for Nationally revolutionizing the bonds between families and schools through this innovative child-centered education initiative. Hartford stands as beacon in actively putting an end to the harsh cycle of educational injustice being passed on from one generation to the next within the United States and the world.

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