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Diverse Cohort of International Parents Graduate from Leadership Program

December 10th, 2018

The 17th cohort of the International Parent Leadership Program (IPLP) recently graduated 27 parents from the six-week program that helps international parents understand the framework of the U.S. educational system and more specifically at HCPSS. IPLP is designed to increase leadership capacity of international parents as advocates on behalf of the system’s more than 9,000 international students through sessions covering policy, budgeting, diversity and more.

This year’s group of parents was the most diverse yet, representing 17 countries, more than 12 languages and four continents. International Student and Family Services Specialist Min Woo described the cohort as unique, with a mix of parents who had just moved to the country and others who were already active in their respective schools.

Alpa Patel was interested in how knowledge was imparted to young children after noticing her son’s elementary school provided more engaging and interactive instruction through games and puzzles than schools from her native India. Through IPLP, she now appreciates that students can learn at their own pace and have many academic options such as AP classes and career academies.

IPLP participant Jisook Lee had never seen a program like this for international parents when she was a public school teacher in Korea and now encourages friends in other countries to create similar opportunities.

Mimi Wang said the program gave her a “paradigm shift” about her role as a parent, from “passive receiver” to “active contributor and even an advocate.” She said, “International parents, with their life experiences and perspectives, have a lot to contribute … When international parents are empowered through experiences like IPLP, good things will happen.”

Patel, Lee and Wang testified during the Nov. 29 Board of Education meeting about their experiences and benefits of IPLP.