At too many schools across the country, parents are left out of the learning equation. Ellie Canter (MEd ’12) is working to change this oversight as director of programs at Turning the Page, a non-profit that is empowering parents in Washington, D.C. to become active and effective participants in their children’s education.
Canter supervises AmeriCorps VISTA members and three partnership coordinators to strengthen relationships between teachers and families.
“The work enables me to collaborate with teachers and principals in our partner schools and with parent leaders as they address various initiatives for school wide growth and positive school climate,” Canter said.
She is also playing a key role as Turning the Page expands beyond Washington, D.C. to four schools in Chicago. Canter is working to improve evaluation internally and externally with Child Trends, an evaluation team that supports non-profits in tracking and measuring outcomes.
“As we scale our work to a new city, I want to use our evaluation tools to examine the practices and culture within our school partners that encourage and/or impede family engagement," Canter said. That will help Turning the Page foster the relationship building between parents and educators that is needed to create a space for community growth and support for all students to be successful.
Earning her master’s in education policy and leadership studies from the University of Washington College of Education prepared Canter well for her current role.
“I loved my time at the UW College of Education because I was immersed in a community of educators from all parts of the country and the world who were actively seeking the best way to create equitable educational systems that serve all children,” Canter said. “My courses continue to drive my current work and they created the backbone of understanding about cultural competency and the research on family engagement that I use to continue challenging conversations with our team at TTP, teachers, and parent leaders in our schools.”
Canter is committed to improving learning outcomes for students and wants to see the role of parents in schools elevated to one of authentic partnership — where each family’s expertise and knowledge of their children is activated through collaboration with their children’s teachers.
"I hope to see more equitable distribution of funds and resources across our public schools that acknowledge the need for quality programming in schools that are labeled as ‘low performing’ in communities that are considered ‘low income',” she said. “I have seen the power of organized parent leaders and know that community-based leadership empowers other members of the community and their children to drive initiatives forward.”
Dustin Wunderlich, Director for Marketing and Communications