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How Can PPS-SF Parent Ambassadors Help You?

posted Oct 27, 2016, 9:43 AM by Robin Dutton-Cookston   [ updated Oct 27, 2016, 9:46 AM ]
by Maria Webster, Program Coordinator

Many San Francisco families appreciate the opportunity to rank their choices and apply for any relevant school or program in the district. But having choice can also be a burden. There are 110 elementary schools and programs in the SFUSD, and it can be quite time-consuming to seek out the schools that will best fit your family’s educational and logistical needs. Parents for Public Schools of San Francisco (PPS-SF) has some
suggestions for how to learn about schools, including contacting a PPS-SF Parent Ambassador.

What is a PPS-SF Parent Ambassador?
A PPS-SF Parent Ambassador is a public school parent who has volunteered to speak to other parents about their child’s school. Many parents find it helpful to get another parent’s perspective about a school, and to learn more about a school than what can be found on the school’s website or seen on a school tour.

How do I connect with a PPS-SF Parent Ambassador?
Email ambassadors@ppssf.org and specify which schools interest you. You can also mention if you have a particular concern, and PPS-SF can try to connect you with a parent who might have insight about that issue. Some topics that parents have questions about include special education, afterschool programs, language pathways, or diversity.

PPS-SF does not give out contact information for parent volunteers. Instead, we forward your details to the Parent Ambassador and ask them to contact you within three days. If you don’t specify otherwise, we send the email address used to contact us. If you include a telephone number in your email, we can pass that along as well.

What can I learn from a Parent Ambassador?
People who volunteer to promote their schools tend to be excited about, or at least mostly satisfied with, their schools. They can share the great things happening at their schools. But most of us recognize that no school is perfect. Parent Ambassadors can address these challenges and explain how the school community is dealing with the challenges and how that affects their family and their child.

Here are some examples of what parents have said about connecting with a PPS-SF Parent Ambassador:

“What helped get me fully behind the school was hearing immediately from the [Parent] Ambassador who was able to answer my questions that centered around what it was like to be a real part of the school, and how she dealt and was dealing with challenges. It was just that touch stone to a current pulse on what the school really was like behind the tour curtain.” (Jennifer)

“[The Parent Ambassador] was able to bring my husband into the school after tours were over and to show how the kids interact in the am. She made him perfectly happy and comfortable to send our child to public school.” (Christine)

“The most useful part was hearing parents talk passionately about their school experiences. There is no substitute for hearing about experiences from an actual parent. Our speaking with parents in general convinced us to forego private schools and put our daughter in public school, a decision we are very happy with.” (Tom)

“Thanks again for linking us up with a couple of Parent Ambassadors for Mission HS — both were very generous with their time and gave me and my husband lots of helpful information and perspective. As a plus, both parents had children who had also attended other high schools, so they were able to offer us some insight into those schools, as well.” (Barbara)

“As newcomers to the Bay Area, we studied the school options via online resources and chatted up some of our work colleagues, but that can only take you so far. Being able to connect and talk with the [Parent Ambassador] about their experience at the targeted schools really helped us to confirm or re-think our hypothesis if the school offering was a fit with what kind of educational experience we wanted to have for our children.” (Scott)

“It was truly amazing! and made all our move much easier. I expected schools in the big city will be a challenge, and it turns out human, friendly, and easy.” (Meital)

“[The Parent Ambassador] was great and helped connect me with another parent. We knew no one at Alamo so having someone to talk to was a huge help in our decision. We planned to attend but got our 1st choice in round 4. I'd love to help out with the ambassador program.” (Beth)

How can I help?
Once you get through the enrollment process and your child is in a school that you would like to help promote, please contact us at ambassadors@ppssf.org to volunteer to become a PPS-SF Parent Ambassador yourself.
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