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Stay Current on FCPS Issues With Red Apple Mom Blog

Announced on: Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Catherine Lorenze, a respected parent advocate in the nation’s 11th largest school district, is sharing her expertise about lobbying school boards and superintendents with parents nationwide in a new website and blog at and

The idea for resulted after hundreds of parents from around the country began seeking advice from Lorenze on how to navigate the often complicated and frustrating world of School Boards and Superintendents. Lorenze’s work with the advocacy group FAIRGRADE ( has been recognized in national media outlets including Time magazine and The Washington Post.

“Too many School Boards and Superintendents take the position that ‘they know best.’  It’s a very difficult environment for parents with no experience in education advocacy or communications to achieve policy and program reform,” said Lorenze.  “That’s where becomes the go-to solution for empowering parents who want to impact budget, policy and program decisions.”


Lorenze said, “ provides a roadmap on how to mobilize with other parents and education stakeholders.  I detail the lobbying and communications skills that work for ultimately moving School Board and public opinion in favor of change.”

Change is something Lorenze knows well.  In 2009, she devised the winning strategy that mobilized 10,000 parents and led to an overhaul of Fairfax County Public Schools' entrenched 47-year old grading policy.  The former 6-point grading scale penalized Virginia’s Fairfax County students in college admissions, admission to college honors programs, and receipt of merit-based academic scholarships.  The Pittsburgh Post Gazette called FAIRGRADE “role models for other parents in the country.”  The Washington Post said, “The leaders of the group (FAIRGRADE) are professionals with a passionate following.”

While passion for a cause is necessary, Lorenze said that too much emotion is often a fatal mistake for inexperienced parents trying to change a School Board’s position.  “With the advice found at, any parent can learn how to go head-to-head with School Boards and Superintendents, gain credibility for their cause and influence decision-makers with data and facts – not emotion.”

Lorenze credits her success in parent advocacy in part to the many years she spent running political campaigns as well as the media skills she earned as a radio network news editor and TV producer.  Following FAIRGRADE's achievement, Lorenze has since co-founded the Fairfax Education Coalition - - which has a reach of 40,000 parents and teachers. 

“It’s tough to go up against powerful school administrators. But I’m proof that positive changes can result when you have the right know-how and motivated parents to work with,” said Lorenze.


For more information, interviews or article pitches, please contact Red Apple Mom at:      

Catherine Lorenze                                 
Cell:  202.744.2758       - Website & BLOG access   - BLOG