Parent resource centers provide tools
Jan 03, 2013 (The Brunswick News - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) --
Educational research shows students with parents who are actively involved in their schooling tend to get better grades and have fewer discipline problems.
Alisha Boatright, a parent involvement worker at Altama Elementary, has seen first hand how parental involvement can improve a child's chances at succeeding in school. Through working with parents, Boatright has learned there is one key first step.
"Parents need to come to the schools and know who their child's teachers are," Boatright said.
When parents and teachers communicate well, potential strengths and weaknesses in a student can be addressed in a timely fashion, she said.
Once parents have established a relationship with teachers, Boatright suggests they stop by the parent resource center operated at each Title 1 school in Glynn County. All schools but Glynn Academy, Brunswick High and Oglethorpe Point Elementary are Title 1 schools.
The centers have resources parents can use to learn how to be effective teachers at home and help with homework or concepts with which students might struggle.
"They can come in and learn how to teach their children at home," Boatright said.
It is something she has used herself now her children are learning math she has not used in a long time.
"Being a parent myself, sometimes I feel lost, too," Boatright said.
According to the Glynn County School System's parent involvement coordinator, Marihelen Newman, parents have to be active in their communication, not only with teachers and principals but also with their children.
"One of the best ways schools can communicate with parents is through the student's bookbag," Newman said.
That is why parents should always ask their children about their school day and what they brought home, she said. A child's bookbag may reveal a flyer or announcement the child had forgotten, Newman said.
"Even for the older kids in middle school, this is a good idea," she said.
There are also online avenues like Glynn E-news, an email newsletter with information about what is going on in the school system. Parents can also sign up to receive text messages about urgent matters such as school closings.
Parents who do not have a computer or home internet access can go to the parent resource center at their school and use computers there to sign up, Newman said.
For information on the parent involvement program, contact Marihelen Newman at 267-4100, ext. 1545, or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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