Indianapolis Public Schools have had parent involvement positions under a number of different titles for 20 years. This year the district has unified that work under Federal and Special Programs and the Parent Involvement Educator (PIE) position, funded fully through the district, and the School Community Parent Coordinators position, which is funded through both the district and an external partner.
According to Deborah Black, Parent Involvement Educator Coordinator, both positions are there to help ensure “parents are involved in the school and their student’s achievement.”
The theme they are basing their work around is “IPS Schools and Parents are Walking T.A2.L.L. Together.” The acronym T.A2.L.L. is key to the theme because it means parents are to be Teachers, Accountable Advocates, Leaders, and Learners with their students.
Elda Pena, PIE at Wendell Phillips School 63, said parents are “delighted to know there is someone specifically in the school to guide them on various ways to work with their child’s school work.” She likes to tell parents that they and the school are the end points of a bridge supporting their students’ educational walk.
Jean Ely, principal at Wendell Phillips, agreed with Pena, stating simply, “When students see their parents in the building, they do better.”
Principal Nathan Tuttle at Nicholson Performing Arts Academy at School 70 said his PIE Penny Guthrie “is foundational in streamlining events, news, information access and parental involvement with students to help the ‘school’s work’ to be ‘partnership work.’”
And Guthrie herself noted, “The PIE assists parents’ understanding of school goals and what they can do in their home and at school to ensure success for their children.”
At Brookside School 54 Principal Julie Bakehorn said her PIE Sharon Harris helps parents “always feel in touch with the school and have options for plugging in” and that the PIE role is important to provide “parents with immediate access to a staff member.”
At IPS, we understand parents are key to the success of students. And with the parent-focused positions unified under Federal and Special Programs this year, we want to welcome the rich resource of talent our parents represent in all our schools!