The Portland Parent Union 

Parents/Families Participation is not a smoke screen.

was founded in April of 2009 by Sheila Warren a, mother, grandmother, activist and advocate in the Portland Or. Public School Community. She saw the interests of the teachers, school administrators, and district leadership well represented and controlling decision making. The parents and students themselves suffering from the lack of a strong collective voice and support.​

Tired of seeing parents -  including herself and her family - pushed out, and after struggling with conflicts that should have been easily resolved, Sheila realized there was no organizational framework designed explicitly to advocate for parents and families and represent them when dealing with the school district. Other stakeholders have institutionally powerful support systems: teachers and staff have unions, principals have district administrators, district administrators have the superintendent, and the superintendent has the school board and full-time legal counsel. Against this institutional juggernaut, a family stands alone!

After many failed attempts to get a fair process and closure for her and her family, she was determined that no other family should go thru what she and her family had gone thru.


The Portland Parent Union was born of the desire to give parents representation and a collective voice equal with what teachers have. We will be a centralized group of parents and families connected to resources and supports necessary to be powerful advocates for our children and for each other, and ultimately for positive institutional changes and the greater common good.  


Parent Involvement In Education/Beyond The Bake Sale   

Background/Context: Parent involvement in education is widely recognized as important, yet it remains weak in many communities. One important reason for this weakness is that urban schools as well as the rural schools have grown increasingly isolated from the families and communities they serve. Many of the same neighborhoods with families who are disconnected from public schools, however, often contain strong community-based organizations (CBOs) with deep roots in the lives of families. Many CBOs are beginning to collaborate with public schools, and these collaborations might potentially offer effective strategies to engage families more broadly and deeply in schools.

Purpose: This curriculum presents a community-based relational approach to fostering parent engagement in schools. We investigated the efforts of CBOs to engage parents in schools in especially low-income urban and rural communities. We argue that when CBOs are authentically rooted in community life, they can bring to schools a better understanding of the culture and assets of families, as well as resources that schools may lack. As go-betweens, they can build relational bridges between educators and parents and act as catalysts for change. This is what Portland Parent Union is trying to do......

(CBO meaning Community Based Organizations)



Beyond the Bake Sale

Countless studies demonstrate that students with parents actively involved in their education at home and school are more likely to earn higher grades and test scores, enroll in higher-level programs, graduate from high school, and go on to post-secondary education. Beyond the Bake Sale shows how to form these essential partnerships and how to make them work.

Packed with tips from principals and teachers, checklists, and an invaluable resource section, Beyond the Bake Sale reveals how to build strong collaborative relationships and offers practical advice for improving interactions between parents and teachers, from insuring that PTA groups are constructive and inclusive to navigating the complex issues surrounding diversity in the classroom.

Written with candor, clarity, and humor, Beyond the Bake Sale is essential reading for teachers, parents on the front lines in public schools, and administrators and policy makers at all levels.


contact       503-880-9145

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