What Is MAIN Parents?
MAIN Parents was created by a desire to connect parents of children with similar educational circumstances, goals and obstacles. The group is a highly energized, productive network of immersion parent leaders throughout the metro area whose common goal is to support and enrich immersion education and foreign language learning, as well as serve as a resource for immersion parents through a bridgework of relationships.
Find us on FaceBook (Minnesota Advocates for Immersion Network-Parents), or visit our website here: Big Tent. Complete the membership application with your immersion school name, location, etc., and you will be notified when your application is complete.
MAIN Parents is parent companion to MAIN which is an organization that includes immersion administrators, specialists and teachers. The goals of MAIN Parents mirror those of MAIN: encouraging and supporting discussion, collaborative problem-solving, pooling of resources, sharing successful school initiatives, and advocating for immersion education at all levels of administration. MAIN was established in the 1998-99 school year through CARLA (Center for Advanced Research on Language Acquisition) administration.
MAIN Parent membership is open to any immersion school in Minnesota. Parent representation from each school is annually requested. School representation is appointed by either the school PTO/PTA President or the Principal, to either a PTO/PTA or Site Council board member, but can also be appointed to someone who has a desire to participate and an interest in immersion networking.
MAIN Parents meet 4-6 times per year, for a 2 hour meeting. Members are occasionally asked to bring to the meeting school material pertaining to the agenda which may require a small degree of preparation. Action work is sometimes requested beyond this time.
The group currently uses a shared-leadership style in which schools take turn hosting and running each meeting. There is a chair who manages the calendar and online meeting community as well as initiating the ongoing schedule year to year. The online communication tool, Big Tent, allows members to post questions and information relating to immersion as well serving as a member management program.
Current and past meeting topics discussed include: Fund Raising and PTO Budgeting, Volunteerism, Immersion Classroom Teaching Assistant Programs, Parent Leadership Groups such as Site Councils and PTO/PTA, All-School Events, Community Relationship Building, and Lobbying strategies for Immersion Education. The agenda topics have been especially helpful to newly organized immersion schools providing a starting place and resource for ideas. Sharing ideas on these topics have also been helpful to inspire new vision for veteran schools.
Also on the radar of annual discussion and task work is current legislative action in regards to increasing effective communication within the immersion community statewide with the purpose of assisting new programs, creating a ‘think tank’ for problem solving strategies, and most importantly, establishing a unified immersion voice to best meet the needs of successful immersion education, such as funding, staffing and public awareness.
MAIN Parents was initially organized in April 2004 through a school Site Council initiative.