Parents As Leaders

Research shows that parent involvement with schools has a positive correlation on student success.  Among the key findings is that children do best if their parents are not only involved at home, but if they volunteer at school and help make decisions about the school’s programs.  Your involvement will not only help your child’s academic achievement, but it helps all children.  PEN encourages you to develop your volunteer leadership skills and become involved…for your student and the common good of all students.

Parents As Leaders Trainings

PEN works with parents at school sites or in the community to help them coordinate parent engagement efforts to support student achievement.  PEN develops programs based on the unique needs of individual schools and parents, to help parents develop the knowledge and skills to support student achievement.  Topics include: parent leadership skill development, creating a home environment that supports academic achievement, navigating the school district, building cross cultural bridges, and more.  Available in English and Spanish.

Previous Programs include:

How Parents Make Schools Better

When you see an issue or have a concern about your child’s school, how do you get it resolved? When you have a great idea, how do you gather support to make it happen? This program orients parents to PUSD's organization and budgets, but also focuses on practical ways that parents can make a difference – not only for their own children, but for all students.  En Espanol.  

Leadership Team Dynamics

A group dynamics workshop for PTA and other parent group leaders designed to help parent groups work better as a team, fly as a flock, and balance stability and change. Open to current and incoming PTA officers, committee chairs, and other parents interested in getting more involved. Expect a lively, "aha!" experience that may change the way you look at leadership and give you insights and tools to help your team function more effectively.

Respecting Our Differences / Sharing Our Strengths

The diversity in our schools provides us with a unique opportunity to connect with all types of parents and staff.  Different people bring different knowledge and experiences to the table, but everyone needs to feel valued. This interactive session provides parents with practical skills for effective cross cultural communication, building relationships, and working together to do what’s best for all students.

Collaborative Leadership

At this interactive session, parent leaders learn to implement a collaborative leadership model that leads to positive parent/school partnerships.  Parent leaders will participate in activities that will help them be successful at involving other parents, sharing their vision, leading effective meetings, overcoming obstacles, and valuing process and relationships as much as results.

Leading An Effective Meeting

During this program, PEN provides parent leaders with tools for managing meetings effectively.  Participants gain the skills to define the purpose and desired outcomes of a meeting, plan an agenda, facilitate group work, manage difficult meeting dynamics, and lead meetings so participants feel valued, involved, and keep coming back.

School Fundraising for Parents

Given the realities of today’s economic environment, parents recognize that the traditional bake sales won’t raise the level of funding needed to sustain the kinds of programs they want for their students.  Topics included creating a fundraising plan, how to identify potential donors, donor cultivation, and Annual Funds. 




Our Parent As Leaders programs are supported in part with funds received from the Pasadena Tournament of Roses® Foundation and the Pasadena Community Foundation.

  • Become a PEN Ambassador and represent your school to other parents.
  • Get involved with one of the many school and district level parent organizations.
  • Participate in one or more of our Parents As Leaders programs.  Programs vary year to year so check the calendar or contact us to schedule a program at your school.  Choose from one of the topics listed, or we can work with you to develop one based on the unique needs of your school.

Parents As Leaders Mini-Workshops  

Shorter in length than Parents As Leaders Trainings, parents can choose from five 10- to 20-minute interactive workshops designed to help your PTA, English Language Advisory Council (ELAC), African American Parent Council (AAPC), or other parent groups function more effectively.  Contact PEN to lead one of these interactive activities with your parents:

  • Unity (“Spaghetti” exercise) – Parents learn how they can be stronger and get more accomplished by identifying common goals.
  • Quick Connect (pair share activity) – Helps parents become better listeners and speakers during meetings by organizing ideas and getting to the point.
  • Building a Team (triangle activity) – Teams need different kinds of people and skills to thrive. This guided discussion helps parents overcome fear of leadership and encourages them to see themselves as the “right” person to participate.
  • Power of Words (broken telephone activity) – What we say and how we say it can make a big difference, especially in diverse groups. This activity demonstrates the importance of clear speech.
  • Building Bridges (connector activity) – In a diverse school environment, finding the things we have in common helps us to build bridges. This exercise helps parents think beyond superficial differences, and to idenitfy and build on what they have in common with other parents.