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School Governance Council Measure Your Engagement


About Us

Mission: The Connecticut Parents Union (CTPU) is a membership association established to connect parents, guardians and families with the resources and support necessary to effectively advocate for the educational rights of children.

Vision: To ensure parents and guardians of children have legal power to improve the educational experience of their child thus creating school and community environments where parents are seen as equal partners in their childŐs school.

Guiding Principles:

a. A quality education is a human right for all children, not a privilege,

b. Parents must take responsibility for their child's academic and life success through active participation, as opposed to non-active expectations,

c. Parents have the right to choose the best school that meets their childŐs academic needs,

d. Communities have the right to quality schools in their neighborhood,

e. CTPU supports the acquisition of knowledge, experience and resources for all children with the goal of raising academic achievement by reducing the achievement gap,

f. CTPU support partnerships with administrators and teachers who demonstrate effectiveness in the classroom as shown by increased academic achievement for all children,

g. CTPU, as a voting block, will hold elected officials accountable for their decisions on appropriations and policy related to education through a bi-annual report card and endorsement process.

The Connecticut Parent’s Union collaborates with parents, key stakeholders, education and social justice advocates across the State of Connecticut and country to engage decision makers to affect and sustain best practice educational reform efforts.

Since the CTPU’s incorporation in January of 2011, we have organized hundreds of parents, guardians of children and education advocates who are concerned that Connecticut and the nation’s public policy makers, as a whole, have not taken the most effective approaches towards erasing the knowledge, skill and opportunity gap , better known as, the achievement gap. The fact is, too many students in Connecticut and across the country are not graduating from high school and college with the skill sets that they need to become productive citizens, engaged community leaders, and participants in a trained and qualified workforce. Needless to say, this has serious impacts on our state and nation’s economy.

Interim Steering Committee:

Interim Chairperson  - Gwendolyn Samuel (Meriden)

Interim Vice Chair - Vacant

Interim Secretary - Lisa Pavlov (New Britain)

Interim Treasurer Lewis Kelley (Manchester)

Outreach - Athena Wagner (Waterbury)


Youth Advisory Members

Coming Soon

Connecticut Parent's Union's Founder

Ms. Gwendolyn Samuel is a parent of two children in Meriden, CT public schools, and the Founder of three, all volunteer, community-based organizations that advocate for the educational rights of all children from birth through college graduation. These include the CT Parents Union (CTPU) ™, a membership association whereby parents, guardians and families are connected with the educational resources and support system necessary to ensure that neither race, zip-code nor socio-economic status is a predictor of their child’s success; the State of Black CT Alliance, an organization which advocates for equity and access to high-quality socioeconomic and educational opportunities for communities of color and other vulnerable populations; and the Meriden Kids Walk Safe Coalition (MKWS) - a Safe Routes to School Initiative.

A graduate of Springfield College, with a Bachelor of Science in Human Services, Ms. Samuel works tirelessly to promote effective and sustainable practices that foster the academic and social development of children while seeking to strengthen families and communities.

She firmly strives to ensure that "each and every child" has access to a high quality education and equitable access to opportunity. She also firmly believes that a well informed community is a better and stronger, community.

Ms. Samuel, along with other parents and educational advocates, successfully introduced the so called "Parent Reform Trigger" law to Connecticut. The law gives parents legislative redress through School Governance Councils, allowing them to make recommendations for a school improvement model that supports turning around a systemically low-performing school.

In recognition of her work, Parenting Magazine selected, Ms. Samuel as one of 51 moms from across the country to represent their state at the inaugural, March 2010 Mom Congress on Education and Learning Conference at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C.

In July 2010 and 2011, Ms. Samuel was a presenter at the University of Connecticut Administrator Preparation program.

In September 2010, Ms. Samuel was selected to sit on an educational panel at the NBC Universal Education Nation Summit in New York.

In April 2011, she presented a workshop on the Parent Trigger law at the 2011 Parenting Magazine Mom Congress Education and Learning Conference in D.C.

In June 2011, she presented at the 115th Annual National PTA Convention, in Orlando, Florida on her Meriden Kids Walk Safe – Safe Routes to School Initiative. The workshop was entitled Safe Routes to School: Advocating for Wellness & Growing Successful Programs.

In October 2011, she presented at the National Association for the Early Young Child (NAEYC) Conference in Orlando Florida; Engaging Parents, Teachers and Kids as they Transition into Kindergarten.

In March and April of 2012, Ms. Samuel presented at Teach for America - CT Professional Development Days in Hartford, Bridgeport and New Haven entitled, "Parent and Teachers in Partnership."  

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