Strong Public Schools Build Strong Communities

February 28, 2019

CHAI’s Director of School and Community Engagement, Dr. Beth Rheingold, currently serves on the Parent University Advisory Steering Committee for BCPS, together with Pikesville Middle mom, Dr. LaShaune Stitt. The steering committee—the first of its kind, includes BCPS administrators, teachers, engagement liaisons, and educational specialists. The steering committee meets several times a year at the Greenwood campus to discuss best practices for reaching families with BCPS engagement resources. Parent University, a clearinghouse of resources compiled and curated by the Office of Family and Community Engagement and BCPS provides “centralized access to resources that educate and empower families to prepare their children to become globally competitive graduates.” Beth said that working with Sue Hahn, Director of FACE, has been a “game changer” for having a greater impact in our Pikesville schools, with many supports for building family engagement.

“Bringing the Parentmobile to Milbrook Elementary and Wellwood International Elementary and hosting it has been a great way for me to meet families,” said Beth. “We are pleased to partner with Baltimore County Public Schools. The resources are so vast, and the Parentmobile helps bring them right to parents.” To date, the steering committee has collaborated on the Parent University website to improve access to links on important topics like academics, educational workshops, wellness, and health. The steering committee has also joined forces to improve access to presentations that PTAs and school leaders can reserve and host at their school. The committee will focus this spring updating materials for training engagement liaisons. Sue Hahn said “It’s vital to have representatives like Beth on board to help us cater our services and resources to our families throughout Baltimore County. We hope that our partnership can also offer information that she and other family care organizations can use to more effectively reach out to the families and audiences they serve.”

Beth is thrilled to serve on this advisory committee, together with LaShaune, whose children matriculated from Wellwood International to Pikesville Middle. Next year Dr. Stitt’s daughter will be a freshman at Pikesville High School. One of CHAI’s program goals is to identify and cultivate parent leaders in the school community. “LaShaune stands out as a leader among leaders, and Pikesville is lucky to have this educator and parent so involved.” Dr. Stitt recently received a Ed.D. in Educational Leadership and also serves on the Northwest Advisory Council, which represents Pikesville-area schools.