STRATEGIES IN THE SPOTLIGHTCitywide Education Progress Reports
IMPROVING SCHOOL QUALITY AND FIT
MEETING STUDENT NEEDS
INVOLVING FAMILIES IN SCHOOL SYSTEM DECISIONS
SUPPORTING FAMILIES THROUGH CHOICE PROCESS
TAKING COLLECTIVE ACTION
CAMDEN: Boundary Spanner Supports Ambitious District Projects, Elevates Families’ Concerns
In Camden, one former little league organizer is now helping families be part of the strategy to improve the city’s education.
The parent-led and staffed nonprofit, Parents for Great Camden Schools (PGCS), does advocacy work with charter, district, and Renaissance school families. The group has a close working relationship with the district and the families it represents. Its unique positioning allows PGCS to act as a boundary spanner between education leaders and family members.
PGCS has supported some of the district’s more controversial moves, such as demolishing and rebuilding Camden High School. PGCS also elevates concerns that are percolating in the community. In 2018, the group helped families make sense of growth versus proficiency rates in a city where most schools are still at less than 10% proficiency across all grade levels.
The group also helps families navigate the choice process, but staff say they need many more boots on the ground to do the one-on-one outreach necessary to help families understand the options available to them.