Thrive’s Locally Designed Program Gains National Traction

Bozeman, MT (June 17, 2016) ­ Thrive, a nonprofit in Bozeman, MT is pleased to announce that its locally-­designed Parent Liaison program will be featured at the annual 2016 National Family & Community Engagement Conference in Pittsburgh next Wednesday. The conference examines how schools and communities around the country are realizing mutual goals and maximizing impact through productive family­-school­-community partnerships.

Thrive’s school­-based Parent Liaison program employs full-­time, masters-­level professionals to build family engagement in local public schools through parenting classes, relationship building, and resource connection. The program assists families from all backgrounds, and is often described as a ‘bridge’ connecting families to resources both within and outside of the school system. Parent Liaisons provide support with anything from supporting families in crisis to teaching parent education courses.

According to Chief Joseph Middle School Principal Brian Ayers, the Parent Liaison program, “builds a bridge between the home and school for many of our families who have lost trust or faith in the school system.”

The program was initially developed in 1994 in response to a request from the Bozeman School District who identified a need to enhance student success through increased family engagement in the schools. Fast-­forward twenty­-two years, and the Parent Liaison program now operates in a every school in the Bozeman School District, having recently expanded to Bozeman High School along with Big Sky and Sheridan, Wyoming School Districts.

“Schools and communities are beginning to see the importance of increasing parent engagement, and they’re looking for ideas on how to do this.” says Thrive’s Projects Coordinator Steve Wellington, MSW, LCSW.

Wellington, a licensed clinical social worker and former program manager and Parent Liaison, now focuses on evaluation and expansion of the Parent Liaison program, as well as sharing the model with other professionals, namely school district personnel, educators, and professionals in counseling and social work.

“With the support of the school district and our community, we’re doing some innovative things in the field of education that communities throughout the country are interested in. We have an opportunity through this conference and others like it to share what we’ve learned, and enhance student success on potentially a very large scale.” says Wellington.

This conference presentation comes at an unprecedented time in the history of the program ­ Wellington is currently coordinating a study of the Parent Liaison Program with Northwest Education, a research group which studies the effectiveness of educational initiatives. Wellington will present his workshop, “Parent Liaisons: Taking Family Engagement to the Next Level” on June 20th. Expenses to attend this conference have been generously covered by a grant from the Llewellyn Foundation. For more information on Thrive or the Parent Liaison, please call 406-­587-­3840 or visit www.allthrive.org.

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