Research shows that the social networks of families play a significant role in helping their children to build the skills and knowledge to fulfill their potential. In Washington, D.C., approximately one-third of traditional and charter schools enroll families of diverse backgrounds. Across the U.S., over 4 million children across 32 states attend schools in districts and charter schools with socioeconomic integration policies. Diversity in itself isn’t solving the opportunity gap — but we can leverage it to build rich, authentic parent networks to surround all children with the support they need to thrive.
In School Year 2016-17, Kindred piloted two parent dialogue groups at Marie Reed Elementary School in Washington, D.C. Our pilot is based on the premise that parents’ participation in Kindred activities (i.e., dialogue groups and taking collective action) will change their beliefs, values, and networks, especially as related to building empathy, valuing diversity, increasing their efficacy, and diversifying their social capital networks.
We believe so much in the potential of this work that we hired the Urban Institute to evaluate the impact of our pilot at Marie Reed. The Urban Institute conducted surveys and focus groups to evaluate Kindred’s activities associated with parent beliefs and actions. The Urban Institute study revealed a strong connection between Kindred’s activities and its logic modelchanges in parents’ beliefs, values, and networks. Parents described positive and even transformative experiences as a result of their participation in Kindred’s program.