Parents are key to school success

Published 8:21 am Friday, February 10, 2012

Dr. Cheryl Guy, Decatur County Schools Parent Involvement Coordinator

By MOLLY DUETT

News Intern

“Children benefit from their parents’ involvement” was the main message from speaker Dr. Cheryl Guy, Decatur County Schools Parent Involvement Coordinator, at the Decatur County Family Connection Collaborative meeting on Wenesday, Feb. 8.

Guy said that research states that numerous benefits are gained when parents are involved with their children’s academics. Some of those benefits include better classroom behavior and better grades and test scores. Guy said that same research shows that they are more likely to graduate and earn a postsecondary education.

“Our task is to involve parents and teach them how to be engaged in their child’s education, so they can have these things happen for their children,” Guy said.

The DCS Parent Involvement program has based its workshops around six areas: parenting, communicating, decision making, learning at home, community collaboration and volunteering. The program provides workshops and different opportunities at schools or at the Parent Resource Center at 507 Martin St. The group will also travel to clubs and organizations and teach parents about these six areas.

The main focus for the group this year is on helping parents to volunteer in the school system.

“We’re really wanting to do something district wide that is going beyond the bake sales and the field trips,” Guy said. “We want to train our parents to go into the schools and assume leadership roles — to assist the teachers in their classrooms, such as helping with a reading group, helping with a math group, or helping out in the science lab.”

In the volunteer program, parents will go through a background check and a training process. According to Guy, it’s arleady been very successful. They currently have 65 parents that are trained.

Janie Kelley, Special Education Parent Mentor, also spoke about how the Parent Resource Center has significant areas to help parents, such as academic resources to food and shelter.

“Parents are out there who need help and that’s what we’re there for, and if we don’t know the answers we’re finding them,” Kelley said. “In the end, it’s all for a greater achievement for our kids in school.”

Ronnie Burke, Decatur County Family Connection Coordinator, explained how the mission statement of the DCFC is to make sure students graduate on time, and how the DCS Parent Involvement program really helps to reach that goal.