On Tuesday nights once a month, a group of parents come together to tell the Chancellor how they really feel. They come from every ward. Their children attend schools across the city. And their commitment to education is ironclad. They are the Parent Cabinet.
Last year, DC Public Schools launched the Parent Cabinet, a new way to foster meaningful dialogue between parents and leadership, to provide a direct line between parents and the Chancellor, and to collect vital input from parent leaders.
Leaders from offices across DCPS share their plans and solicit feedback—from school planning to special education to testing to attendance to budget development. There’s laughter, discussion, and serious listening. Above all, Parent Cabinet is a place to learn and to be heard.
We talked with three current Parent Cabinet members about their experiences. Intrigued? Apply soon—applications are due Tuesday, January 20!
School Without Walls @Francis-Stevens EC
Parent Cabinet Experience: You know that you’re going to be impacted by everyone else in the room. There’s a lot of energy. When we leave, it’s like we’ve had a Starbucks triple shot—and we don’t even drink coffee. As a parent, with boots on the ground, I believe my voice has been heard throughout this entire process. That’s been encouraging and inspiring.
Why apply: It will enhance your DCPS parent experience. It allows you to serve and be served at the same time
Parent Cabinet Experience: I feel that I’m not just heard, but understood. We really directly connect with Chancellor Henderson. She genuinely wants you to share your thoughts and beliefs. Where else do you get this? I’ve been surprised by how responsive this administration has been to the needs, wants, and desires of parents and this cabinet is proof of their commitment to hearing voices and acting on it. DCPS used to be looked down upon. And now people I know who would otherwise send their kids to private schools are choosing DCPS.
Why apply: I feel guilty because I really wanted to do this and I’m so glad I did…but there are other parents who may not have that opportunity. To them I say: it’s fun, it’s engaging, and it’s a great experience.
Parent Cabinet Experience: My highlight has been gaining knowledge. I have a better understanding of the system, and also of the relationship between the city and DCPS. Understanding the process gives you more patience for change. It’s not as easy as you think. I’ve also appreciated learning the history of where DCPS has been—it’s very valuable for understanding what we’re doing now.
Why Apply: The Parent Cabinet is a great place to encourage more parent involvement in local school. It’s also a great avenue for advocacy, information, and ideas.