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Connection and Collaboration at the Heart of the Parent Resource Center

Dec 8, 2021 | Category A

More than 1,000 people lined up for the first annual Back-to-School Bash at the Parent Resource Center on Saturday, August 14, 2021. Situated in the heart of North Tulsa and co-located with North Star Academy, the Tulsa Public Schools Parent Resource Center (PRC) is a welcoming, empowering and engaging community space. Through the vision and partnership between the North Tulsa Community Education Task Force, Tulsa Public Schools (TPS) and BEST/ConnectFirst, the PRC will be a one-stop hub of services for parents, families and caregivers seeking resources and information from preconception and beyond.

Since the inception of the PRC, community voice has been essential in identifying the needs and resources that will be housed at the PRC. The PRC aims to provide resources to parents and caregivers and thus serve students holistically by strengthening the family support system.  Community-based organizations such as Emergency Infant Services, Goodwill VITA and ConnectFirst are just a few of the partners that will be collaborating with the PRC to provide resources to families. The Parent Resource Center, in partnership with community based organizations and agencies, will provide tax assistance, workforce training and referral to basic need services, and promote the importance of early brain development to lifelong success.

I believe all parents want their children to be successful.  Therefore, given the opportunity to provide additional resources to parents to ensure success allows students to obtain quality education and success in life.

MARLA MAYBERRY, MANAGER OF THE PARENT RESOURCE CENTER

North Tulsa native and the Manager of the PRC, Marla Mayberry, spent the last two decades serving in leadership roles in Higher Education and the nonprofit sector. After hearing about the vision of the Parent Resource Center, she felt like serving in this position would be coming “full circle” as a product of Tulsa Public Schools herself. Mayberry discussed the vision of providing services as well as a physical space for families, especially those in North Tulsa, to be able to meet their children’s comprehensive needs. Collaborations with key stakeholders like the North Tulsa Community Education Task Force, Tulsa Public Schools Superintendent Deborah Gist, TPS Interim Chief Learning Officer Dr. Ebony Johnson and PRC Parent Engagement Specialist LuShuna Blalock-Humphries further strengthened the PRC’s vision.

As the school year begins, the PRC’s first phase will focus on successfully launching and creating seamless connections for families to the resources they need. Navigation services like Tulsa Health Department Family Advocates will be embedded at the PRC connecting parents and caregivers to critical community resources. A trained financial counselor through the City of Tulsa’s Financial Empowerment Services will offer financial literacy workshops and one-on-one financial counseling to parents and caregivers. Each co-located program and service aims to provide wraparound services for families while minimizing the number of physical locations parents and caregivers need to travel long distances to in order to access these services. The PRC will continue to evolve as community needs change; community input and collaboration is vital to ensuring that the PRC is able to continually identify and meet community need. 

[The work of the Parent Involvement Facilitators (PIFs) help to] make sure that what we’re creating here is what the community actually needs, so families will feel like [the PRC] belongs to them.

MARLA MAYBERRY, MANAGER OF THE PARENT RESOURCE CENTER

Parents and caregivers continue to be an integral part of the Parent Resource Center. Mayberry emphasized the involvement and importance of the Parent Involvement Facilitators (PIFs). Currently, the PRC works with three PIFs who serve as liaisons between the PRC and the school. As representatives of Walt Whitman Elementary, Hawthorne Elementary and John Hope Franklin Elementary, PIFs work to walk parents through the resources that the PRC offers and direct connections to the larger BEST Partner Network. PIFs have been involved in the strategy of the PRC and will continue to help convene parent groups “to make sure that [parents] will feel like [the PRC truly] belongs to them.” Mayberry expects to welcome more PIFs in the future to ensure there is a seat at the table for parents to shape the PRC and make sure that “the PRC belongs to [the community].” 

The Parent Resource Center hopes to open its doors in September. As the PRC grows and develops, Mayberry and GKFF-BEST look forward to sharing opportunities for further collaboration within the BEST Partner Network to help families have greater access to resources and services and help promote their children’s success. 

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