If your mailbox is anything like mine, you’re getting a lot of appeals for money from worthy nonprofits these days. It always happens at the end of the year, but with the current tough economic climate some of these appeals are more urgent than usual.
I’m not giving to many organizations this year, but one I am going to dig deep to support is Parents for Public Schools-San Francisco, which is having a very tough time making ends meet. I can’t say enough about what PPS-SF has done for San Francisco parents, and by extension, San Francisco public schools.
Every year, PPS staff members educate literally thousands of prospective public school parents about our complex enrollment process, and offer them resources and strategies they can use to find great schools for their children. PPS has also significantly expanded its outreach into traditionally underserved communities, through its Site Council training and PPS Parent Clubs. This is work that empowers parents to be involved in our public schools and help their children get a great education. PPS-SF:
- Is a trilingual organization, serving almost 700 members who speak English, Spanish and Chinese.
- Has conducted public school enrollment presentations to more than 6,000 people throughout the city.
- Has assembled more than 300 volunteer Parent Ambassadors and Enrollment Coaches to promote public schools and educate parents about the enrollment process.
- Hosts monthly Latino, Chinese, and Bayview Parent Club meetings to connect parents with each other, building a community of support for parental involvement.
- Has trained over 600 parents on school governance and the district is looking to us to update these trainings and make them more widely available.
I might be one of the poster children for the success of PPS’ efforts. PPS helped me find a great school for my kids, connected me with other like-minded parents and helped me navigate district programs and advocate for change. Over the years I’ve tried to pay this favor forward by serving as an ambassador for my public school and also for parents trying to navigate special education. I’ve made great friends in the PPS network, and learned a tremendous amount about what is working, and what isn’t, in our district.
It’s amazing to think that this little organization (started in 1999 with little more than a fax machine, an Internet connection and a couple of part-time evangelists) has had this kind of impact. Even now, people are surprised to learn that all PPS employees work part-time, from very modest offices, and for many more hours than they are actually paid for.
Whether you are a current parent, a prospective parent, or even just someone who cares about San Francisco and our public schools, this is an organization that deserves your support, and I hope you’ll make a donation! Thank you.