With the 2012-13 school year underway, we are excited to share our family engagement work at both ends of the age spectrum;school readiness and college readiness. We are also happy to introduce you to new staff and board members at Parent Services Project, who join our team in working towards our mission of engaging and strengthening families to take leadership for the well-being of their children, families, and communities.

From Prek to College, Family Engagement Matters


We are thrilled to welcome three new board members (David Escobar, Laura Llerena, Luz Torres) and four new staff members as pictured from left to right (Alexandra Danino, Katie Kuhl, Kerry Bacho, Gina Guillemette) to Parent Services Project this year! If you haven’t already had an opportunity to meet these individuals, we hope you get the chance to soon.

Joining the board are the following outstanding individuals:

David Escobar: Aide to Marin County Supervisor Steve Kinsey and community leader supporting local grassroots promotores efforts.
Laura Llerena: Parent leader with Parent Services Project, Concilio Comunitario del Canal and formerly served on the Marin Head Start Policy Council.
Luz Torres: School-based therapist at Hillsides in Glendale, CA, with experience and passion for providing family engagement services in education settings.
Joining the staff are the following outstanding individuals:

Kerry Bacho: Kerry joins us as a Family Literacy Specialist leading our early literacy and Raising A Reader efforts. Prior to PSP, Kerry worked as a Family Advocate with Novato School Readiness Program and Novato Youth Center. In this capacity, she partnered with PSP to pilot a grassroots Raising A Reader Ambassador program that is now expanding in Marin County.
Alexandra Danino: Alexandra joins us as a Community Outreach Specialist serving families at the Aprendiendo Juntos playgroup and fostering local residents’ leadership through promotores efforts aimed at reducing health inequities. Prior to PSP, Alexandra worked as a Perinatal Services Case Manager at Marin Community Clinics and as a Promotora with Canal Alliance.
Gina Guillemette: Gina joins us as Director of Program and Evaluation, overseeing program and training and heading up our agency-wide focus on program outcomes and impact – through development of systems that support strong evaluation and continuous learning. Prior to PSP, Gina worked at Heartland Alliance and Ounce of Prevention Fund in Chicago.
Katie Kuhl: Katie joins us as a Program Manager leading up our PreK-3 family engagement and leadership efforts. Prior to PSP, Katie worked as a Teacher in several community-based preschool programs, was a Pearson’s Teaching Fellow in San Francisco, and served as a Team Leader for Jump Start for Young Children in Washington DC.


We have kicked off Year 3 of College for All Partnership (CAP), which is a collaboration with College of Marin, E3: Education, Excellence and Equity, Parent Services Project, and Youth Leadership Institute. Serving Novato and San Rafael school districts, CAP reaches 50 middle school students, 50 high school students, 50 parents and 10 college mentors annually, through a service model designed as a pipeline that builds youth and family college readiness through leadership development.

The model is making a difference for students at significant risk of failing or dropping out of school. Last year’s evaluations of students served show middle school students had a 60% increase in A’s, 45% decrease in F’s, 43% decrease in suspensions, and a 19% decrease in absences from the year prior. The number of high school students who understood college readiness nearly doubled, with 81% demonstrating an understanding of college readiness at the end of the program. In addition, 80% of participating high schoolers planned to attend college and had registered. PSP led a Vision and Voice Family Leadership Institute for parents of middle and high schoolers, 67% of whom did not attend college themselves. A majority of parents stated their child planned to go to college. Parent involvement in their child’s college planning increased from only 45% of parents to 78% reporting being involved after participating in the program. There was also a 60% increase in parent knowledge of A-G requirements for college entrance.


Parent Services Project is partnering with dozens of early childhood programs and elementary schools in Marin and Santa Clara Counties to provide family engagement services in a PreK-3 context. Research shows that aligning curriculum from one grade to the next is good for children’s learning. As educators work to implement strategies to do this in the classroom, PSP is working to ensure families have the information and tools necessary to be full partners with educators in maximizing early learning opportunities for their children.

We are working directly with traditional preschools, family day care homes, early learning playgroups, elementary schools and at the district level. Our approach is to meet families where they are, provide them with information and tools to partner with educators and advocate for their children. We are also hosting professional learning communities for family liaisons who are instrumental in connecting with families at early childhood and school sites.