American Dream Academy

The Need

Latinos are the least educated of all major ethnic groups. From their first day of kindergarten to their last day of school, Latino children, on average, perform far below most of their peers. The failure over more than three decades to make any progress in moving more Latino students successfully through college suggests that the educational strategy used to close the achievement gap is not working. The American educational system has focused most of its efforts on school leadership, teacher development, facilities enhancement, and instructional best practices; however, very little efforts have been focused on one of the most critical elements of successfully closing and transforming the achievement gap – Parents!

Trust between parents and teachers is a vital element in building and maintaining the family–school relationship which is key to successful and effective schooling.

Research has demonstrated that the benefits of parent engagement in the educational system are multi-fold. When parents are involved, children gain. At the same time, parents benefit from engagement in their child's education. In addition to the direct benefits to children and parents of parental engagement, schools also benefit.

The Need

Identifying OFCs to use the American Dream Academy model to create communities across the nation in which parents and education professionals collaborate to develop effective learning environments for all children by helping parents instill the value of education within themselves and their children.

The Need

The Institute will advocate for family engagement in underserved communities across the United States through the following strategies:
  • Training and Education
a. Training seminars
  • Virtual Learning
a. Virtual Courses
  • Information Dissemination
a. Educational materials
  • Coalition Building
a. Networking/Connecting people
b. Information sharing
c. Alliances

The Need

When parents are involved, children gain…

  • Higher grades and test scores; better attendance and homework completion; higher graduation rates; more positive attitudes and behavior; and greater enrollment in post-secondary education.

When parents are involved, parents gain…

  • More confidence in the schools that their child attends; higher teacher expectations of their children; more self-confidence; and a higher likelihood of continuing their own education.

When parents are involved, schools gain…

  • Improvement in teacher morale; higher ratings of teachers by parents; more support from families; higher student achievement; and better reputations in the community.6
The Need

The ADA Parent Education Program

The ADA Parent Education Program is based on curriculum developed by the Parent Institute for Quality Education (PIQE) in California, which uses an intense, one-on-one contact model to create a community in which parents and teachers collaborate to transform each child's educational environment at home and at school.

6. A New Generation of Evidence: The Family is Critical to Student Achievement, edited by Anne T. Henderson and Nancy Berla, Center for Law and Education, Washington, DC, 1994 (third printing, 1996)

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