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Parent Engagement Meets Data Collection in Kent

Parent engagement is coming face to face with cutting-edge data analysis in the Kent School District, one of Washington State’s most culturally diverse districts.

The Parent Academy for Student Achievement (PASA) program launched at two high-need elementary schools in the 2012–13 school year. The nine-week course trains parents on parent-school and parent-student communication, how to stay involved in students’ learning at home and how to encourage students to reach their full potential and hold themselves accountable. The program also includes parent-principal engagement. Upon program completion, a graduation ceremony is held in which parents receive a certificate of completion in front of a crowd of their peers. PASA graduated 165 parents in its pilot year and hopes to graduate more than 500 in 2014.

The way data are used to track success makes PASA unique from many other parent-engagement efforts. Each student in the district is given an unique “code,” which allows administrators to keep connected to the student throughout his or her education using a variety of metrics, including grades, attendance, college acceptance and more. This data-rich system makes it easy to track students whose parents are PASA graduates. Melanie Strey, former PASA director and district director of student services, said PASA is still too new to derive any firm conclusions about its success, but the program is committed to utilizing student data to improve its approach and impact on student success over time. PASA is currently headed by Millicent Borishade, assistant director for Family and Community Engagement.


Melanie Strey stands next to Jafar, a father who participates in the PASA program.