Ky. governor joins parent leadership institute


A non-profit aimed at engaging and educating parents as leaders in their school systems is joining with Gov. Steve Beshear to expand the program throughout Kentucky.

The result will be the Governor's Commonwealth Institute for Parent Leadership, which will be an independent non-profit organization. The institute builds on the 16-year record of the Commonwealth Institute for Parent Leadership. The change was announced Monday at a press conference in Frankfort.

Beshear called parents a "critical resource" in continuing to improve Kentucky schools.

The education program is a free, six-day seminar that explores everything from understanding test scores to unlocking educational jargon. It also offers mentoring after the program is over. The existing institute has trained more than 1,600 parents.

Bev Raimondo, the current director, will also lead the Governor's Commonwealth Institute for Parent Leadership. The new organization will have a broader reach for service and fund-raising but the same goals, she said. Having Beshear's backing, Raimondo said, "adds credence to the importance of parents to the education process. We liken it to the Governor's Scholar Program." That program, which also operates as an independent non-profit, offers specialized summer learning for high school students.

Parents in Eastern Kentucky will be able to sign up for the first programming by the new organization sponsored by Morehead State University and the University of Pikeville.

The new program's goal is to fund and schedule at least two more institutes in 2013, and eventually offer up to six a year. To do that, Raimondo said, the non-profit needs to raise $800,000 to $1 million a year.