We are COPACS, Inc., a national "collaborative of parents and community stakeholders" whose mission, purpose and guiding principles represent and/or stand for an unwavering belief in the power of the U.S. public school system to educate --- all its students --- without excuses.​​

With this commitment in mind, COPACS' mission seeks to build the capacity of parents
and community statekholders in advancing transparency and accountability in public school governance, discourse and decision-making tied to student achievement (rather than mere student progress without timelines). 
Operating from an empowerment model rather than a deficit model, we, of course, know and understand (from experience) that it takes a village (across races, ethnicities, gender, socioeconomic status and age groups) to raise a child, but we also know and understand that it takes a village to ensure --year after year --that children are, indeed, attending schools where excellence and equity exist. This mission-driven purpose begins with knowledge-building goals focusing on the importance of real opportunity structures, processes and/or spaces for social inclusion or member voice, agency and influence.

We, therefore, believe that school-based parent and stakeholder engagement opportunities
must include timely, accurate, up-to-date information dissemination and knowledge utilization goals based on best practices and lessons learned --- before school governance decisions are made. This awareness-building goal ensures that parents and community stakeholders are placed in legitimate positions to build their practices so  that they, too can sit at the tables where 
decisions are made at the federal, state, district and school levels. For most districts and schools,
however, the voices of the status quo and teachers' unions are "given more weight" when it comes to  public school decisions while authentic discourse with parents and community stakeholders remains a cosmetic gesture at best. If this were not so, the unfair distribution of productive, effective teachers in districts and between schools would be a thing of the past or the urgent need for timely, accurate and objective teacher evaluations would be tied to student achievement, etc. 

For this reason, our support for parents and community stakeholders always originates 
"from where they stand." This includes helping them to identify the processes for prioritizing, acknowledging and valuing their own voices in public school decision-making in contrast to the processes and structures that promote social exclusion or power imbalances in schools. 
Most importantly, this view recognizes that the foundation of any public school system finds
its impetus from their input about their real-life school-based goals, hopes and dreams for children --- built from a world of possiblilities rather than one where stereotypes are maintained.

This ongoing goal, at its root, is about social inclusion. If parents and community stakeholders are to become fully committed, effective advocates for high quality, equitable public school systems --- in which children --- are clearly its top priority: all parties must be included and respected. In other words, everyone, (students, parents, community stakeholders, etc.) must believe that they are a part of a system where their voices count, too. 

Participatory democracy then is a key aspect of all of COPACS' programming. It creates the need for parents and community stakeholders to show up on behalf of public school children. It supports parents and community stakeholders in exercising their "right to know" about public school governance, including how “transparency and accountability are framed within public schools and what the mechanisms are for ensuring that resources and funds reach students."
It builds the foundation for parents and community stakeholders to contribute to school based discussions as well as paves the way for an ongoing culture of inquiry to exist that leads to the best educational solutions for all students.
As a result, each newly registered member will find a wide range of opportunities, information and resources for capacity development on our website that can assist them as stakeholders in
learning about best practices or lessons learned tied to high performing schools. With this goal in mind, they will, as members, find that they have become informed supporters of successful public schools --- from the classroom to overall school governance.
To learn how to become a COPACS member , including how to start a local COPACS chapter, please contact us by calling 202-534-1754 or by completing our contact form.  

840 First Street, Third Floor
Washington, D.C. 20002
(202) 534-1754
David Landers