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Strong Neighborhoods, Strong Schools: Case Study: Alliance Organizing Project

The Alliance Organizing Project (AOP) is a Philadelphia-based, single-issue parent organizing group with the goal of making parents and families ‘full partners’ in public school reform. AOP was formed in 1995 as a component of Superintendent David Hornbeck’s systemic reform initiative Children Achieving. From 1995-2000, AOP was supported through Children Achieving funds, but governed by an independent board. AOP has continued to be active in parent organizing after the end of Children Achieving and the departure of Superintendent Hornbeck. AOP works at both the individual school level to develop Parent Leadership Teams and at the citywide level to address cross-school concerns and seek policy changes. The authors examine AOP’s accomplishments in the indicator areas of leadership development, school/community connections, social capital, and equity. Some of AOP’s outstanding achievements include: helping parents become leaders in the schools, in the political arena, and in AOP itself; increasing the involvement of community members in schools and building parent/community networks; increasing parent-teacher collaboration; bringing in new resources for after-school care and crossing guards; and waging a citywide campaign to reduce teacher vacancies in schools serving low-income neighborhoods.