“Inversant really brings all the information you could possibly need to one place. That has made a big difference in preparing for college … It’s been eye opening.”
Parental engagement is not always at the forefront of a teacher’s mind. Busy juggling a multitude of tasks and students, it can be difficult for teachers to find ways and time to appropriately engage with parents on how they can prepare their student for a post-secondary education. To help bridge this gap between teachers, facilitators, and parents, Inversant recently partnered with Urban College of Boston to create a class for those studying early education titled “Effective Practices in Parental Engagement.”
The partnership orginally grew from a relationship with Inversant Board member, Michael Taylor, President of Urban College. Taylor and Inversant both realized that a partnership with its students could provide the skills they need as early education majors to know how to discuss college readiness and savings with parents.
Urban College is a non-profit two-year institution offering Associate of Arts degrees in Early Childhood Education, Human Services Administration and General Studies as well as a wide range of certificate programs and continuing education courses. Created as an elective credit, the course was designed to explore programs offering Children’s Savings Accounts (CSAs) both locally and nationally, as well as teach participants the skills of facilitation and parental engagement.
Course leader and Inversant Manager of Boston Partnerships, Peter Hulbert, designed the class so students could gain skills, knowledge, and hands-on experience. “I want the students to be able to leave with tangible skills that they can use in their future careers, communities, as well as in their personal lives,” says Hulbert.
The main course objectives include:
The class currently compromises of three adult students, all with full-time jobs, and two with children. While the students are currently enrolled at Urban College to earn their associates in Early Childhood Education, they all aspire to one day attain a four-year degree.
“When I first began teaching the class, I assumed most students would be fairly familiar with CSAs, but I learned that is not always the case,” says Hulbert. “Once I discovered this, I created a baseline of information for the students on what a CSA is, as well as other basics when beginning to save for a child’s college education.”
A recent class session featured a presentation from banking partner Metro Credit Union on managing personal finances and even offered students an opportunity to meet after class 1 on 1 to learn how to navigate their own personal finances even more.
Internship hours are also a criteria of the program. By tabling at local Boston Saves events, students gain experience communicating directly with families on the importance of establishing a CSA and saving regularly for college, as well as other resources that are available for families to help guide their children on getting into college.
Mid-term projects for the course required students to create a CSA program on their own and then present that program. Programs varied from working with single mothers to survivors of sex trafficking to help them begin to think about how to think about the finances surrounding post-secondary education and the various resources available to them.
Students “pitched” these CSA programs to Bob Hildreth and Charlie Desmond and received feedback and praise. “I was so impressed with these ideas and goals of the CSA programs these students created,” says Desmond. “These are exactly the type of voices we need in the CSA space – those who know and work within the communities we are trying to target and reach. I am hopeful we can continue to explore and expand upon this partnership with Urban College for years to come.”