Truckee-North Tahoe welcomes local chapter of Parents for Public Schools | SierraSun.com

Truckee-North Tahoe welcomes local chapter of Parents for Public Schools

Special to the Sun

TAHOE/TRUCKEE, Calif. and#8212; In August, our community welcomed the establishment of the Truckee-North Tahoe Chapter of Parents for Public Schools (PPS). PPS is a national organization of community-based chapters working with public school parents and supporters to improve and strengthen local public schools. It brings together parents who care about the state of public education in their home districts and in our nation and encourages them to be involved. We believe we need to empower parents and others as advocates for all children in a school district, not just their children and their individual schools.

John Dewey (1859-1952), American philosopher, psychologist and educational reformer said it best: and#8220;What the best and wisest parent wants for his own child, that must the community want for all of its childrenand#8221;

PPS of Truckee-North Tahoe wishes to bring together parents from different backgrounds, ethnicities and neighborhoods, educate and empower parents, provide resources for the community, organize volunteers, and generally seek to improve our public schools. We believe that to maintain a strong community we must maintain strong public schools. From increasing understanding of public school choices, to integrating arts programs, to demanding transparency from the board, to boosting college readiness, to marketing public education, parents have a profound impact on quality public schools.

Our community is blessed with a wonderful network of parent-teacher organizations (PTOs) that tremendously benefit each of our schools individually, as well as such organizations as the Excellence in Education Foundation and Arts for the Schools. PPS plans to work closely with these groups to compliment their efforts; and beyond their efforts, seeks to develop leadership skills to engage in school improvements at the local, state and national level.

Our community is also no stranger to controversial issues related to the school district. In May 2009, residents launched an effort to recall three members of the school board. This year the district had trouble finding candidates to run for three seats on the school board. And now we are facing a district wide budget shortfall as a result of decreasing property taxes. These examples help to illustrate why we need to act now and#8212; as a community and#8212; to raise awareness and focus on moving our school district in the right direction. We have a strong foundation of teachers, administrators and board members. And we have a town full of wonderfully bright, athletic, hard working youths who are relying on this community and its schools to prepare them for life. That’s why we’re really doing this.

and#8212; Leisa Peterson and Lauren van Loon are Truckee residents.

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Organizing and advocacy: PPS organizes and mobilizes parents and education supporters to work for equal opportunities and set higher standards for all students. We believe parents should be advocates not only for their own families and friends, but for all students within the school district. This is how real change occurs.

Leadership: PPS parents are equipped with leadership skills and provided with a strong knowledge of state and federal educational standards and accountability measures. Parents engage in school improvements at various levels of government. PPS expands parental involvement beyond helping with homework to influence how schools and school districts are governed.

Education: PPS provides a foundation of support, resources and training for its local chapters so communities do not have to build a program from the ground up. PPS chapters learn school district policy and state educational standards and conduct public forums for candidates running for election to the school board. PPS parents push for open school board meetings that encourage public input and stay informed on school board meetings and elections.

Public Awareness: Through involvement on school boards, budget committees, state education policy groups and other efforts, PPS parents speak out on the basic importance of strong public schools and strong communities.

Our local PPS of Truckee-North Tahoe chapter is comprised of the following founding Board members: Leisa Peterson, president; Brooke Bishop vice president; Rebecca Monson, secretary and Lauren van Loo, treasurer.

We are seeking additional Board members, parents, advocates, volunteers and other educational pioneers to assist us with our efforts to improve the Truckee-Tahoe Unified School District.

This is a very exciting time as we start designing and building our local PPS chapter and we welcome not only public school parents, but others with an interest in educating our children and building a strong community. We have a lot of work to do as we define our goals and mission and begin to make things happen so that we can experience real change.

Our next steps: Complete the definition of our goals and working toward them. We really need the support of parents and others across the entire community to help us build and run the program so we can realize improvements in the very near future.

The next PPS of Truckee-North Tahoe meeting will be held Wednesday, Oct. 20, 2010, 11:45 a.m.-1 p.m. at For Goodness Sake, 10157 Donner Pass Road, Truckee. All members of the community who have an interest in education are welcome. Please RSVP by e-mailing ntt.parentadvocacy@yahoo.com.

At the meeting, we will talk more about how PPS works and the goals that our local chapter seeks to accomplish. This will be a roll-up-your-sleeves working and brainstorming session to start moving forward with our vision. This is a great opportunity to join a new group at groundbreaking and help to influence our goals and direction.

If you would like to learn more about the national chapter of PPS, please visit http://www.parents4publicschools.com. To be added to our e-mail updates, please e-mail ntt.parentadvocacy@yahoo.com.