Ivelisse Caraballo is an educational advocate and mother of two who is dedicated to ensuring that her children, along with all children, have access to high-quality, equitable educational opportunities. A product of the Boston Public School system, Ivelisse felt under-prepared for the rigors of a four-year college education upon graduating high school. Reflecting on her own struggles within urban education and her desire to end the intergenerational transmission of poverty, Ivelisse became committed to taking a different route with her children in order to prepare them for college and 21st-century careers.
Through both experience and in-depth research on the causes and consequences of educational inequality in urban school communities, Ivelisse knew that she could not leave her children's education in anyone else's hands. She also understood that she would have to work with and inform other people about issues in urban education in order to truly impact change. As she states, "when I fight for my children's education, I'm also fighting for those that are going to be there after them."
_Over the years, Ivelisse has worked to promote systemic change in Boston-area schools through family and community organizing. In addition to her work with CPLAN, she has also worked to elevate the voices of parents and students in METCO (Metropolitan Council for Educational Opportunity Program). Overall, Ivelisse is committed to empowering parents through knowledge given what she describes as a "huge learning curve" in regard to understanding how schools can better serve students. Additionally, she is devoted to ensuring that schools are culturally responsive to the needs of the parents that they serve. Specifically, Ivelisse is interested working with schools to ensure that educators use an asset-based approach to teaching and parent engagement. Such an approach characterizes students unique cultural differences as beautiful and valuable aspects of the learning environment and provides teachers and students with the foundation to develop deeper connections among themselves. Moreover, an asset-based approach to parent engagement provides space for families to craft their own narrative about what they have to offer schools while also building a sense of community between families and staff.