Alameda Parents are Getting Empowered

alamedausd_schoolsmarts_collageSix November graduations celebrate family engagement

Decades of research shows that family engagement in education promotes lifelong success for kids. California State PTA’s award-winning School Smarts Parent Engagement Program — offered in partnership with local school districts and PTAs — is helping Alameda parents learn about their schools and get involved.

Although the school year just started a few months ago, six November parent graduations already are taking place in Alameda County:

  • Ruby Bridges Elementary School
  • Frank Otis/Edison Elementary Schools
  • Paden/May Lin Elementary Schools
  • Henry Haight Elementary School
  • Amelia Earhart/Bay Farm Elementary Schools
  • Franklin/Donald D. Lum Elementary Schools.

During the 2016 – 2017 school year, School Smarts will operate in nearly 160 schools across nearly 30 school districts including Alameda Unified School District. More than 6,000 parents statewide have graduated from the program since its inception as a 2010 – 2011 pilot program. More than 2,300 parents are expected to graduate from the program this school year.

Congratulations to all Alameda Unified School District School Smarts parent-graduates, and be sure to share your School Smarts news with us at!

Alameda Unified School District Parent-Graduates Share Their School Smarts Experiences

لقد تعلمت في هذه الأكاديمية بعض الأشياء الأكثر اهميه والمطلوبة لتحقيق النجاح لأبنائي ومدارسهم. وقد تعلمت أيضا ان انتبه واهتم بكيفيه تعلم ابنائي وكيفيه تعليمهم في المنزل. وتعرف على النظام المدرسي ودور كل شخص فيه. وقابلت العديد من الأمهات وتعلمت عن فرص المشاركة في مدارس ابنائي.

“I’ve learned in this academy some of the most important things required to achieve success for my children and their schools. I have also learned to be aware and interested in how my children learn and how to teach them at home. I also learned about the school system and the role of each person in it, and I met many moms and learned about participating opportunities in my children’s schools.”

لذلك لا يسعنا في هذه اللحظة التي تعجز فيها الكلمات عن التعبير الا ان نقول لكم منا جزيل الشكر على ما قدمتموه لنا من خدمات و معلومات مما فيها من مصلحه وحقوق أولادنا في المدرسة ومع المدرسين. نشكر الأنسة كلوديا على مجهودها القيم وكلامها الجميل ونشكر مديره المدرسة الأنسة ولسن على كل ما تقوم به في مدرسه روبي بردجز ونشكر كل من ساهم في انشاء الاسمارت سكول.

استاذتنا الغالية نور لكي منا كل الثناء والتقدير بعدد قطرات المطر والوان الزهور على جهودك الثمينة والقيمة من اجل الرقي بمسيره سمارت سكول. الى من اعطر واجزلت بعطائها والى من سقت وروت سمارت سكول علما وثقافه. الى من أعطت من وقتها ونالت ثمار تعبها الى الاستاذه تور لكي منا كل الشكر والتقدير على ما قدمتيه لنا ولأولادنا.

“So we cannot afford in this moment, where words fail to express our gratitude, but only to say that you have our sincere appreciations for what you have given us from services and information, including the interest and the rights of our children in school and with teachers. We thank Miss Claudia on her valued efforts and beautiful words, and we thank the school principal Miss Wilson on everything she does in Ruby Bridges School and we thank all those who contributed to the creation of School Smarts.

“To our dear teacher Ms. Noor: to you all the praise and appreciation as many as the number of colors of flowers and the number or rain drops on your efforts and precious value for the progress of School Smarts — to the one that gave unconditional sincerity, and who nourished and watered School Smarts knowledge and enlightenment — who has given her time and harvested the fruits of her trouble, all our gratitude and appreciation for all you provided for us and for our children.”


“My name is Thang Do. First of all, I want to thank School Smarts and the facilitator Claudia, Marisol and the people who put this workshop together. I learned so much from the program. I learned how the AUSD school system works. I learned how to get information when needed. I learned ahead of time how to invest in my child and school and how to prepare my child to college. This is a therapy class for me. I had all the answers needed to know. I hope this class will continue next year. I appreciated all the hard work you did for the Vietnamese school. Last, I want to wish everyone at this event a good and healthy life!”


“My name is Wentao — my English name is Ina. The name comes from the word of China because it rhymes. Today, I am representing all of our Alameda Chinese School Smarts classmates to express our gratitude to our teacher, Mrs. Rachil, our AUSD School Smarts Coordinator – Mrs. Claudia, Mrs. Martha Zenk, Principal Dean from the Amelia Earhart Elementary School, and all of you who are supporting our Alameda School Smarts. Most of us are newcomers and non-English speakers. We understand that education is very important for every family and how it will help our dreams come true. As newcomers we need help to understand the educational plan from kindergarten to college in the United States. At this important moment, AUSD sent an angel, Mrs. Rachil , to us. She gave us information and taught us ways on how to help our children and our families become successful. We have taken six classes, during these classes; Mrs. Rachil really understood our struggles. She helped and encouraged us to adapt to a new environment. We appreciate all of our teachers from AUSD. They have encouraged us to speak in English and join our school’s PTA.

“The class taught us how to be good parents, how to be our children’s best friend, and how to communicate with schools and teachers. The class also taught us many ways to communicate with schools, teachers, and students. We learned where we can find information, which can help our children go to a good university and have a better life in the future. The class gave us confidence in joining the residents in Alameda, California. The class showed us what is good team work, because we set up an Alameda Mommy Smart group on WECHAT (a Chinese social network like Facebook). By using this social network, we are connecting with each other to learn kids’ activities, afterschool information, and so on. Our goal is to meet once a month with our children to have activities within this network. We will also encourage other newcomer Chinese families to join, so we can share our experience with them. We will act as their AUSD Chinese ambassadors.

“Right now, we wish that each school in Alameda would have a multilingual ELD consultant who knows the US educational system well, plus the ELD program, foreign cultures, and psychology. In doing this, our supporters can communicate with teachers, students, parents, families and schools to help Non-English speakers establish their new lives in the United States. We would say they are like the joints of our bodies connecting our families, schools, and communities together. We have a duty to support our school and our communities to become better, safer and healthier.

In the end, we want to say thank you again for Mrs. Rachil for her patience and for helping us see what we could be. We consider Mrs. Rachil the best teacher in Alameda! We will never forget you.”