View photos of the Parental Involvement Day ceremony held at the State Capitol on November 21, 2013.

Twenty parents from across the state were honored at the State Capitol on November 21, 2013 with a Parental Involvement Recognition Award. This year's awards were presented by SERC and CT PIRC, in collaboration with the Connecticut Commission on Children. The parents receiving the award have shown active involvement in their child's or children's school or community; support of their local school and contributions to high-quality education for all children; evidence of their ability to make a difference in their local school or community; and dedication and advocacy to ensure equity for all parents and their children.

“These parents aren’t there just for their own kids. They want to lift the whole school or community,” said Dr. David R. Grice, an education consultant at SERC and CT PIRC who coordinates the awards program.

The individuals who nominated these parents for the award—principals, teachers, program coordinators, and others—were invited to attend the ceremony and introduce their nominees. By knowing about all the work the parents do in their school or community, the nominators have shown how much they value families, said Ingrid M. Canady, an assistant director at SERC who oversees CT PIRC and partnerships for equity.

“They’re creating an environment where parents have a big role in the school’s success. That really matters,” Canady said. “We know how important family involvement is when you want the best education for everyone.”

Other speakers at the ceremony were Theresa Hopkins‐Staten, vice‐chairperson of the CT State Board of Education; and Steven Hernández of the CT Commission on Children.

The awardees were: Jeff Coppola and Ken and Cheryl Pawlak of Ansonia; Heather Maguire and Rebecca Parry of Avon; Karen Perham‐Lippman of Vernon, for her work with Nutmeg Big Brothers Big Sisters of Hartford; Jillian Miner of Coventry; Michelle DeGagne of Granby; Maureen Suzio of Meriden; Marilyn Dunkley, Brian Kaskel, and Paula Mazo of Middletown; Lorin DeLeo and Bruce and Avenya Buzelle of Milford; Wendy Robertson of New Britain; Heather Hemphill of Plymouth; Emily Maxfield of Portland; Dawn Krzykowski of Waterbury; and Rita Dikegoros of Wethersfield, for her involvement with the Greater Hartford Academy of the Arts.

Eleven parents and volunteers were honored in 2012, the first year of the awards. The awards mark National Parental Involvement Day, an annual event launched by Project Appleseed, a St. Louis‐based educational advocacy group that promotes parental involvement.

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