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Letter from ParentU presenters Kate O'Brien and Jes Hathaway

Dear fellow PPS parents,

As one of our district’s core values is community-- the belief that we are better together and that we support one another-- we PPS parents (Kate O'Brien and Jes Hathaway) are co-facilitating two upcoming Parent U sessions to support fellow parents in developing more skills, tools, and peer support to more intentionally build bridges across differences in our school communities: 

  • Session 1 - Mindsets, Tools, & Practices for Building Bridges Across Difference - next Thursday, 3/23 @ 6pm on Zoom - an interactive learning session that culminates with setting a bridge-building intention to try out before Session 2
  • Session 2 - Peer Coaching & Practice for Building Bridges Across Difference – three weeks later on Tuesday, 4/11 @ 6pm in-person at EECS - a "held space" for learning through shared reflection and processing in smaller groups with fellow parents

How do you know if these Parent U offerings are right for you? We believe these sessions are meant for those who have been...


  • wondering how to get multilingual parents and caregivers to attend-- and keep coming back to-- your PTO meetings and community events
  • wrestling with how to help your child build deeper, more meaningful relationships with classmates who may be newer to Maine and part of the immigrant, refugee, or asylum-seeking communities here in Portland (and maybe even yourself with their parents/caregivers!)
  • thinking about how to show up for your child as they leave the cocoon of elementary school and step into a middle school filled with students, staff, and culture reflecting a wider range of diversity dimensions
  • grappling with the right words to say when your kiddo comes to you with questions about diversity or differences in racial identity, religion, socioeconomic status, language, gender expression, pronouns, learning style, etc.
  • wishing you had dedicated space and/or fellow parents with whom to talk about and explore issues of identity, difference, bias, and belonging, and about how we need to show up differently as open, supportive parents/caregivers in this ever-changing world

Sound relatable? If so, please come join us! Together we can practice embodying the "growth mindset" and empathy that we encourage in our kids. Let's connect and grow with each other, so we can connect and grow alongside our students as we lean into this challenge together.

Hope to see you on 3/23 and 4/11!

Kate & Jes

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