Learning Dreams program helps parents in need help themselves
Learning Dreams, a program that helps parents follow their own educational goals, has been welcomed by St. Paul and Minneapolis schools as a way to develop a culture of learning in their communities. Founded by social work senior fellow Jerry Stein, the program has been working in Minneapolis since the 1990s and has expanded its success to St. Paul's Cherokee Heights Elementary School, according to a recent story in the Pioneer Press.
"Launching parents on educational missions of their own—from getting a driver's license at age 30 to giving college another shot—turns them into stronger advocates for their childrens' learning," writes Mila Koumpilova. Stein and "a stable of volunteers set out to engage 'unreachable' parents who often have changing addresses and busy, chaotic lives."
Stein says that "homes and communities are loaded with potential learning strengths and riches." He "likens his 'volunteer neighborhood educators' to taxi cab drivers, shuttling parents to untapped resources," Koumpilova writes.
Cherokee Heights principal Sharon Hendrix (M.Ed. '04) secured approval from St. Paul Public Schools superintendent Valeria Silva (M.A. '91) and $180,000 foundation funding to adapt the program over two years.