Parents Academy Center


Building Capacity for Family and Personal Success

Through the partnership with Rutgers University-CLC, the Parents Academy works with the school in developing and providing programs that are geared at building the capacity and opportunity for parents. The aim is to invest in making parents effective participants in the overall educational development of their children. This investment, in turn, can translate into enhanced academic achievement of their children. Our approach includes an emphasis on :

  • Encouraging parents to be introspective about their strengths and areas of improvement in terms of effective parenting
  • Parents are encouraged to consider what roles they can play to improve the school and the community
  • Parents are prepared to think about future possibilities and expectations, for both their children and themselves
  • Parents are trained to provide leadership for change that is beneficial to the school and the community.

Director's Message

Welcome to the LEAP Parent Engagement Center!

Engaging our parents is at the core of the LEAP mission and we are committed to working with all of our families and to providing our parents with a myriad of programs and opportunities. Our vision is to provide every parent with the opportunity to meaningfully engage in their children’s education, strengthen their home life, become active community members and transform the lives of their children and their own trajectories. Our portfolio of programs include opportunities for parents to volunteer in a variety of ways in the schools; programs geared at improving the educational and career options for parents, including college and job readiness programs; providing support services and connecting families to opportunities in the community; ensuring that every unit at the school has a parental engagement angle, so that the parent voice is present at every level; and celebrating the success and contributions of our families. Families are the backbone of our school and our parents provide for the sustainability and relevance of our mission. This is the reason for calling our parents, the “LEAP Mission Watchers.”

This year, our parents participated in over 90 school events and completed over 9,000 Parent Volunteer hours. The LEAP Parent Engagement Center is present in every building and works with Principals to ensure that we advocate for the needs of our families. Our Parents are Our Partners! We thank you for choosing LEAP

Maria Cruz


Maria Cruz

Parent Engagement Coordinator (Grades 3-K)

Supervised Programs & Services

Parent Educator Certificate Program

The Parent Educator Certificate Program is a 24-session parent training program that certifies parents to become parent educators. The curriculum first educates parents on child development, parenthood and leadership, and school advocacy; secondly, it prepares participants to deliver the training to a new cohort of parents.

Through this effort, parent leaders are equipped with skills and approaches that are necessary to become effective parent educators, including productive communication practices, in-depth knowledge about parenting and school involvement, as well as facilitation and presentation skills.

Parents as Partners’ Leadership Institute

The Parents as Partners in Child Development and Educational Change Leadership Institute is a parenting education-training program that supports parents and children as active learners and participants in the education process. The program’s curriculum uses training sessions to promote self-confidence and self-understanding and to help families increase their impact on schools and communities. Parents also receive information on available community resources and learn how to use networks and build coalitions to become effective partners with their schools.

Parents as Educators’ Leadership Institute

The Parents as Educators Leadership Institute is designed to promote the idea of parents helping other parents to achieve higher levels of parenting competency and success in their children’s education. The program meets once a week for eight weeks, and instructors work with parents on leadership skills, conflict resolution, and capacity building.

The impact of this information is designed to help participating parents learn the necessary skills for effective parenting, leadership, community service learning, and career advancement. More importantly, however, these individuals become the human resource pool from which to draw the next level of leadership, and go on to play key governance roles throughout their schools.

Fatherhood Program

The Fatherhood Program is a comprehensive parent education agenda designed specifically by the Parents Academy to address the essential role fathers play in the lives of their children and families. The program, certified by the National Fatherhood Initiative’s 24/7 Dad Fatherhood Program, uses both group and one-on-one home-based settings to develop basic fathering skills and create healthy, nurturing households.

The program covers universal aspects of fatherhood, focusing on specific characteristics that a father must have in order to be a well-rounded parent and to create healthy and supportive relationships with those around him.

Pre-College Parents Institute

The Rutgers/LEAP Pre College Parents Institute is an education program geared specifically to prepare urban families and students for higher education through college awareness and experience.

The Institute provides families from 5th grade through High School with information on college preparatory and advanced placement courses, college financing, and offers tutoring services and summer academic programs. It also empowers parents in order to increase their children’s opportunities for attending college.