German Village Gazette

Village notebook

Great Placemakers Lab program to focus on parent engagement

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Maybe you're just starting to hear about the Great Placemakers Lab?

The German Village Society created this conference and workshop series, coming up Sept. 16-19, in the vein of the 1986 Heritage America conference.

Back then, we were looking to gather with other historic neighborhoods from throughout the country to understand best practices in preservation.

Today, we're still interested in preservation -- but not JUST bricks and mortar.

Preservation isn't just saving buildings -- it is about creating and enhancing the environments that support, inform and enrich our lives.

I want to highlight just ONE of the most important elements that is both part of community's fabric and part of our Great Placemakers Lab - young families and education.

Schools are the lifeblood of every community and the recipe for success includes engaged parents.

So many of you are part of -- or proud of -- the efforts of Southside STAY.

STAY is "Standing Together to Advance Youth" in Southside Schools.

Neighbors are working together to ensure a first-rate education for children and youth on the Southside of Columbus, Ohio.

Because of the initiative and energy of several parent groups in Columbus' neighborhoods, the Great Placemakers Lab is hosting a special session for Parent Engagement Sept. 18, and we are pleased to bring to town two pioneers in the cause: Jacqueline von Edelberg and Susan Kurland.

These women are known from the book "How to Walk to School: Blueprint for a Neighborhood School Renaissance," and were the driving force behind the Chicago Public Schools Nettelhorst School's dramatic turnaround.

It is a story that has been featured on Oprah & Friends, The Wall Street Journal, Redbook, NPR, CNN, 60 Minutes, Education Weekly, and in the local Chicago media.

Here's their story:

How do you take one of the worst schools in Chicago, turn it into one of the best, complete the task in nine months and do it all on a budget of zero dollars?

Enter concerned parent and community project leader Jacqueline Edelberg and Principal Susan Kurland.

What started with a wishlist of answers to the question "What do I have to do to get your kids to come to school here?" ended with these two trailblazers.

The Lab has created a special track where you can attend a half-day workshop interacting with von Edelberg and Kurland to find out how their ideas can work in your own schools.

Discover their journey remaking their Chicago neighborhood school and participate in interactive discussion as they present their approach to creating Parent Power in your schools.

We want you to join us in September.

The cost of the half-day workshop is $45 and registration is here: http://greatplacemakers.org/registration/

The afternoon program will be a two-part presentation.

The opening hour will highlight the Nettlehorst's example by the women who instigated the change.

The remainder of the program will feature an interactive participatory workshop where attendees will learn of and demonstrate practical techniques they can use back in their own local schools.

The evening session, complete with cocktails, will bring the same themes and interactive workshop approach, but to a more laid-back feel.

German Village Society Executive Director Shiloh Todorov submitted the Village Notebook column.

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