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HCPSS Celebrates Largest Multilingual Parent Leadership Program Cohort

November 15th, 2023

2023 Multilingual Parent Leadership Program Cohort.

Thirty-four Howard County Public School System parents recently graduated from HCPSS’ Multilingual Parent Leadership Program (MPLP), aimed at helping multilingual parents/guardians navigate the school system, develop the confidence to serve as advocates for their children, and prepare for leadership roles in schools and the community. This year’s group is the largest in the program’s 17-year history.

Parents in the 2023 cohort hailed from 14 countries in four continents, and collectively spoke at least 15 different languages. Between October and November, they participated in six three-hour long sessions, each covering a different education-related topic, ranging from the HCPSS budget to the Gifted and Talented program to assessments, career academies, college preparation and more.

Do Thao, one of this year’s MPLP participants, says her experience in MPLP was invaluable.

“HCPSS has so many different programs and resources available to help students, but when you are new to the system, it can feel overwhelming. Being in the [MPLP] program gave me the knowledge I needed to determine which things would be most helpful for me and my child.”

Hoda, another MPLP participant, feels similarly.

“Before I signed up for this program, I really didn’t know where to start to help my child with school. Even simple things like knowing what to do if my child was going to be absent from school seemed hard. Now, I know who to contact and what the process is. I feel much more confident and able to problem-solve.”

Hoda also notes that by taking part in MPLP, she was able to connect with other parents who shared her desire to support their children, but weren’t sure how.

“I really liked knowing that I wasn’t alone and that I wasn’t the only one who had lots of questions. Everyone in the program had questions, and we all wanted to learn.”

For Mary Win, one of the big takeaways from her MPLP experience was learning how to get more involved in her child’s school.

“I knew I wanted to be involved, but I didn’t know what options were available or how to connect to them. Through MPLP, I learned about the PTA and other opportunities that I can use to be active in our school community.”

This year’s graduates were honored at a luncheon at the Howard County Library System’s Miller Branch. They were joined by several of HCPSS’ Multilingual Achievement Liaisons and representatives from HCPSS’ Office of Access and Achievement.

Shereé Tilley, HCPSS’ Student Access & Achievement coordinator, attended the event and encouraged MPLP program graduates to share what they learned with others who could benefit from the information.

“Let others in our community know what you now know about opportunities to get involved and support our children in school,” she noted.

Howard County Board of Education member Dr. Linfeng Chen—himself a graduate of the MPLP—also was present and encouraged MPLP participants to build on what they learned in the program and take an active role in the school district.

“This is just the beginning; it is a whole journey to support your child in school. Voice your opinions. Observe or participate in public hearings. Get involved.”

HCPSS has historically offered the MPLP only in the fall; however, this year, the program will be offered in the winter. The curriculum for the winter session will mirror what was offered in the fall. More information will be posted to the HCPSS website and shared with families in January.

For more information about the MPLP, email HCPSS’ Multilingual Family Services Supervisor Min Woo.