Visit my Advocacy Website at: www.RedAppleMom.com.
Her advocacy work is dedicated to empowering parents nationwide on how to influence school board members, superintendents and education policy stakeholders. Strategies include using campaign-style, lobbying and communications techniques to organize support for change on issues like: budget cuts, program eliminations, curriculum changes, school boundary issues, grading policies, class sizes, bell schedules, zero tolerance policies and more.
In 2009, Lorenze devised the winning communications and lobbying strategy that led to the overhaul of an entrenched 47-year old grading policy in the nation’s 11th largest school district. The former 6-point grading scale penalized Fairfax County Public School (FCPS) students in college admissions, admission to college honors programs, and receipt of merit-based academic scholarships.
Thanks to FAIRGRADE’s success, FCPS students are now graded by the commonly used 10-point grading scale with added weights for honors and AP/IB classes. Her work as FAIRGRADE’s Director of Communications made national headlines and Lorenze is now recognized for her ability to mobilize hundreds of parents and persuade decision makers for change. Jay Mathews, Education Editor for The Washington Post wrote, “The leaders of the group (FAIRGRADE) are professionals, with a passionate following. Their data and arguments are first rate.” In June 2010, The Pittsburgh Post Gazette called FAIRGRADE “role models for other parents in the country.”
Following up with FAIRGRADE’s success, Lorenze harnessed the power of parents and teachers by co-founding the Fairfax Education Coalition (FEC). Through its coalition members, the FEC has a collective reach of 40,000 parents and teachers, and is using its influence to advocate for improved accountability, transparency and community participation in the FCPS decision-making process. In 2009-2010, Lorenze also ran the successful campaigns of Fairfax County Public Schools’ two freshman School Board Members, Patty Reed and Sandy Evans – both of whom were active parent advocates and school volunteers. In 2011, she’ll be involved in six campaigns for Fairfax County School Board.
Catherine Lorenze is also a former radio network news editor, TV producer and film book author. In addition to her own PR consulting business, Lorenze serves as Communications Director and Spokesperson for both FAIRGRADE and FEC. Her three children all attend Fairfax County Public Schools.