LAUSD Parent Center Provides Support for Los Angeles Families to Navigate School and District Services

Last month, Edwin Markham Middle School in the Watts community became one of the first schools in the LAUSD to open a parent center. This initiative is part of a larger plan to establish more than 300 centers in schools throughout the district.

The parent center offers various services to assist parents in supporting their children’s education. It also provides career workshops and financial stipends.

With the introduction of digital tools and platforms like the parent portal and the AI chatbot program “Ed,” parents may find it challenging to adapt to these new technologies. The parent centers, particularly in elementary schools, aim to provide early support to struggling parents.

“We believe it’s important to inform parents about the available resources and encourage their involvement early on,” said Krisztina Tokes, the chief facilities officer of LAUSD. “It just makes sense.”

A new parent center at Edwin Markham Middle School will give parents the opportunity to become more educated and involved in their children’s education (Charles Hastings)

During the opening of the new parent center, parents were assured that they have a “home” at the school and encouraged to take advantage of the available resources. In addition to workshops focusing on career, financial, and child-rearing success, parents will also have access to loaned laptops. Change Reaction, a new program that provides charitable donations to struggling families, will also be available.

“This is a safe space for students, but the support of parents is crucial,” said Lenya Crowell, one of the founders of the parent center. “We need to keep our parents informed.”

LAUSD engagement officer Antonio Plascencia Jr. mentioned that parent centers across the district offer bilingual programs, and remote sessions will also be provided.

The new parent center at Edwin Markham Middle School is part of a plan to establish 300 centers that promote parental involvement in their children’s education (Charles Hastings)

“Every research study conducted over the past 50 years has shown that when we engage and empower our students and families, we accelerate outcomes,” stated Plascencia.

Juana “Yumi” Kawasaki, the principal of Markham Middle School who was born in Mexico, shared her personal experience of how a parent center in her community helped her parents adjust to life in the United States and acquire the knowledge to support Kawasaki’s success in the future.

“I am who I am because of the parent center,” Kawasaki affirmed.

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