Family Problem-Solving Groups (FPSGs)
Board District 5 (BD5) believes in the transformative power of grassroots parent organizing. Starting in February of 2018, BD5 supported three groups of parents from schools in South, Northeast, and Southeast L.A., as they tackle local issues through the Family Problem-Solving Group (PSG) process.
Our parents engage in a dynamic problem-solving cycle, while BD5 staff focuses on providing resources (data, strategic support, and advocacy tools) for sustainable contributions to transforming Los Angeles public schools. BD5 FPSG parents address significant issues their school communities face, such as low reclassification rates, chronic absence, and inadequate school-site funding.
FPSGs give us a tool that can solve problems, but also form a culture of advocacy, collaboration, and leadership that hopefully spreads throughout District 5 as well as all of L.A. Unified. Parents who participate in these groups are representative of the communities that make up BD5, and we are honored to have the opportunity to work with them, in addition to their trust in us that their participation is worth their time.
The groups first develop norms to help them work together effectively and collaboratively, especially since many of them may not previously know each other. The parents also choose their group’s decision-making processes. In some FPSGs, for instance, parents may adopt majority and plurality voting to make their decisions.
After analyzing data on their schools from the Division of Instruction, FPSG parents brainstorm problems impacting their school communities. They supplement this information with other input from other parents as well.
As the first PFSG project approached its culmination, we saw incredible growth among our FPSG parents. The FPSGs gave parents a venue to activate, explore, and exercise their power as community advocates. They report feeling a new sense of confidence and that they have new skills, which they use outside of the groups. Parents from different are learning from one another—increasing school-site funding and improving relationship building with school administration, for instance. In only a few months, our parents prove themselves to be capable and valuable partners.
BD5 encourages all of L.A. Unified to find ways to collaborate with their parents and develop these talented partners as we seek solutions to our common problems.