Today’s blog post is by Communities In Schools of Georgia President Neil Shorthouse.
According to numerous reports, Georgia has one of the worst graduation rates in the country. At Communities In Schools of Georgia, we believe parents are essentially a child’s first and most influential teachers and play a critical role in shaping each student’s perception of successful education.
With this in mind, we invited more than two dozen working parents, government officials, business and education leaders to come together on December 6 in Atlanta for the first-ever Georgia Graduates: Parents Hold the Key education roundtable.
At the event, representatives from AT&T, Kaiser Permanente, Delta Airlines, The Coca-Cola Company, JCB North America, the Office of Governor Nathan Deal, the Georgia Dept. of Economic Development, the Georgia Parent Teacher Association, the Georgia legislature, the Georgia Department of Education and the Latin American Association passionately discussed the important role parents play in student success in the classroom and how we might work together to better support Georgia parents and their children.
We identified multiple barriers to parent involvement, such as access to technology and a lack of support from employers; resources that should be available to help parents get involved, including existing programs from Communities In Schools of Georgia, the Georgia Department of Education and the Georgia Parent Teacher Association.
Recommendations and solutions discussed by the roundtable included:
* Developing special trainings for educators and parents on how to work together for student success;
* Creating a more welcoming environment for parents in all Georgia schools;
* Leveraging corporate “best practices” to reach working parents.
Although the event was a wonderful starting point, we’re not done. We’re inviting the participants to reconvene in the coming months to continue this important discussion and develop a 12-month strategic plan for reaching Georgia parents.
Communities In Schools of Georgia has also launched a new online Parent Resource Center, which provides a wide variety of free information for parents and educators, including ensuring a smooth transition to middle school and high school, test preparation tips, how to help students with homework and much more.