program, administered by the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction, is part of Washington State’s Education Reform. The program provides substantial support to students (predominantly pre-school through grade 8) and their families who are significantly at-risk by rigorously combining school and community-based resources as a means to reduce barriers to learning, bolster student engagement, and ensure that all children are able to attend school, ready to learn. RTL serves as an early intervention dropout reduction program. Supports include:
- Intensive outreach for families.
- Tutoring and mentoring services.
- Mental health and substance abuse services.
- Case management.
- Parent support and education.
- Transportation and financial support.
- Health services.
- Food, clothing, housing, and employment assistance.
- Individual, group, and community activities and services.
- Gang diversion.
- Extended learning and enrichment.
Parent Leadership within Readiness to Learn
Families are at the core of family-school partnerships. For children to succeed, families must succeed. Families strengths and abilities should be recognized. Across Washington State, there are several programs that not only involve parents as advocates for their own children but also as leaders to advocate for other struggling parents. These programs are considered best practices and are highly valuable to the schools and communities that have fostered their development. Schools that invite family involvement and engagement create an opportunity for capable families to act as mentors and role models. This is especially true when language and culture are barriers to understanding these systems.
We have included an example from the North Shore School District and developed by Washington Alliance for Better Schools. It is entitled the Natural Leaders program. In that model, the parents have a strong voice in shaping and actually running the program. Other examples of developing parent leadership programs can be found at Family Directions Web site.
For more information about Readiness to Learn, contact Ron Hertel, (360) 725-4968, firstname.lastname@example.org.