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Book Review                                      Online Exclusive

 

A Cord of Three Strands 

A New Approach to Parent Engagement in Schools 

by Soo Hong, Harvard Education Press, Cambridge, Mass., 2011, 246 pp, with index, $49.95 hardcover, $29.95 softcover 

 BookCordofThreeStrands

Soo Hong, an assistant professor of education at Wellesley College, has studied the role of community organizing in school reform and the relationships between families, schools and communities more broadly, which serve as the basis for this work.

The parent engagement model in A Cord of Three Strands is called The Parent Mentor program. Parents are paid $600 per year after completing 100 hours of training. They can read to children in small groups, work with individual students and support classroom activities.

The parent mentors learn the school culture to better understand how to help students of various backgrounds understand one another and come together as a school unit. The parents in many cases become strong advocates for students and activities as they become more experienced.

The Parent Mentor can become a strong advocate in the community by explaining the needs of the school and its relationship to the community. It’s this personal engagement in schools, with an emphasis on positive relationships, that serves as a basis for the parent mentor’s help. Parent mentors often take leadership positions in community organizations and elected positions in the community based on their experience.

The Parent Mentor program is a call for parents, families, schools and communities to transform schools in a new form of active engagement to assist schools that are underfunded and lack services that children need to succeed.

Reviewed by Jerry Horgen, adjunct professor, Capella University, Minneapolis, Minn.

 

 

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