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What are parent information resource centers?

The Parent Information Resource Center (PIRC) program is a nationwide effort designed to build successful family involvement in education as parents move beyond traditional activities, like helping children with homework, toward a shared responsibility for school improvement. Funded by the U.S. Department of Education's Office of Innovation and Improvement, the program generally focuses on projects serving parents of low-income, minority and limited English proficient children in elementary and secondary schools. There are 62 PIRCs, with one in every state, the District of Columbia and most U.S. territories. To locate a center in your area, visit the National PIRC Coordination Center's Web site at http://www.nationalpirc.org for the directory.

Specific activities sponsored by PIRCs and their partnering organizations often include helping parents to understand the data tied to school accountability systems and the significance of what that data means for opportunities afforded to their children under the No Child Left Behind Act, such as supplemental educational services and public school choice. Additionally, PIRC projects provide resource materials and coordinate conferences covering high-quality family involvement programs.

For example, the PIRC serving Texas uses a student group called the Youth Education Tekies to provide computer training for parents and other adults in the community so they can learn how to access online information about their children's schooling, particularly the state's education Web site, where school, district and state accountability data are posted. These and other efforts fostered by PIRCs are profiled in the latest publication in the Department's Innovations in Education series, entitled Engaging Parents in Education: Lessons From Five Parental Information and Resource Centers. The 65-page guide also includes tips for connecting with hard-to-reach parents, building community partnerships and setting up a parent center. For a copy, visit http://www.edpubs.org or call 1-877-4ED-PUBS, with identification number ED003668P, while supplies last.
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Publication:The Achiever
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Nov 1, 2007
Words:304
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