This article was originally published in The Notebook. In August 2020, The Notebook became Chalkbeat Philadelphia.
On June 24, about 300 parents who participated in the District’s Parent University will attend a “graduation” ceremony. Many of them were able to earn their GED or improve their English skills through the program.
A part of the District’s parent engagement initiative, the program offers courses from parenting skills to personal growth and education. All classes are free. Topics range from one-time informational sessions such as “A Parent’s Learning Guide to the Curriculum” to 10-week courses in math and English as a Second Language.
The ceremony, at District headquarters, will be a formal convocation complete with caps and gowns. Superintendent Arlene Ackerman will likely be the keynote speaker.
According to Karren Dunkley, who runs the Office of Parent, Family, Community Engagement, and Faith-Based Partnerships, anyone who attended Parent University courses throughout the year is eligible to participate in the ceremony.
“Most of the parents didn’t actually graduate from high school,” Dunkley said. “We want to honor them.”
A District progress report shows a total attendance of more than 8,400 in the 60 classes and programs since the launch of Parent University in April 2009.