MIDDLETOWN, Conn. — Eight Connecticut parents from Bridgeport to Bloomfield are receiving Parental Involvement Recognition Awards at the fourth annual ceremony at the State Capitol November 19.
The event is in the Old Judiciary Room from 10 a.m. to noon. Follow the awards at #ctparentawards.
This year’s winners are Crystal Bouchard of Plymouth, a Parent Leadership Training Institute graduate who is active in the community; Lisa Christensen of Southington, who volunteers at Kelley Elementary School; Christine Dickinson of Torrington, for her leadership roles at Oliver Wolcott Technical High School; Susan Goncalves of Milford, co-president of the Platt Technical High School Parent Faculty Organization; Mae Harvey of Hartford, a foster parent who is active with AFCAMP (African Caribbean American Parents of Children with Disabilities, Inc.); June Levy of New Haven, for her work on behalf of the Engineering & Science University Magnet School in Hamden; Sylma Vasconcellos of Bridgeport, who is active on the Multicultural Magnet School Parent Advisory Council; and Justin Whitehouse of Bloomfield, a manager at the 4-H Education Center at Auer Farm who has volunteered extensively at the Wintonbury Early Childhood Magnet School.
Schools and program coordinators from across Connecticut were asked to nominate parents who 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.
“I am a working mother of a seventh grader, and I know how busy parents are. The commitment of these parents is amazing,” said Veronica Marion, an education consultant at the State Education Resource Center (SERC) and CT Parent Information and Resource Center (CT PIRC) who is coordinating the 2015 awards program. “It’s important to acknowledge parents’ involvement so we can show them how much they’re making a positive change.”
Marion and Wendy Simmons, an assistant director at SERC, present the awards. Participants include Elaine Zimmerman, executive director of the CT Commission on Children; Theresa Hopkins-Staten, vice chair of the CT State Board of Education; and Andrew Lachman, executive director of the CT Center for School Change.
The ceremony coincides with National Parental Involvement Day, launched by St. Louis-based Project Appleseed. SERC and CT PIRC, which is operated by SERC, sponsor the Connecticut awards in collaboration with the Commission on Children and with support from the William Caspar Graustein Memorial Fund.
Connecticut has emphasized the role of families in student achievement. In September, the CT State Department of Education (CSDE), SERC, CT PIRC, the Commission on Children, and other partners held a statewide “High-Impact Strategies for Family-School Partnerships” conference, where Education Commissioner Dianna R. Wentzell announced a new roundtable dedicated to family engagement. For more information on family engagement in Connecticut, follow #ctfamengage on Twitter and visit http://fridaycafe.org.