In educating students this year at Langston Chapel Elementary School, faculty and staff will not go it alone.
During a parent involvement meeting Thursday night at the school, administrators announced the launch of a campaign designed to make moms and dads a chief component to their child’s learning.
School staff created the new program, which will have teachers and parents work together throughout the academic year, after seeing the benefits associated with parents taking on an increased role in their student’s education.
They have titled the campaign, a first-of-its-kind project in Bulloch County, STAR, for Sharing The Academic Responsibility.
“We decided to implement this program with parents so that we are more partners in their child’s education,” said Karen Doty, the principal of Langston Chapel Elementary. “Parents are the very first teachers children have, and we don’t want them to stop just because their child begins school.
“We are trying to come together so we can receive input from parents,” she continued, “as well as giving them hints to help their children academically — tips we as teachers know are good, that will allow kids to practice learning at home.”
The primary goal of the campaign is opening the lines of communication between teachers and parents, and having children learn as well after school as they do in class. To accomplish that goal, administrators have scheduled several events for parents during the year, opened a free-to-use resource center, and provided children with a school planner in which parents and teachers can leave messages for one another about an individual student.
“We will be going out and visiting in neighborhoods to talk with parents who can’t make meetings to see how we can help. We will also have parent training workshops and a snack-and-share, where parents can sit down and just talk about what they have been doing,” said Leslie Wiggins, the school’s parent involvement coordinator. “We are trying to make it more personalized and make sure they know that we really appreciate what they’re doing.
“We want to find out the ways we can help and support parents with resources and ideas,” she continued. “We believe this enables parents and makes them realize that they are important to their child’s education. It’s not just the school system. In order for children to succeed, they need whoever is raising them to be involved in their life.”
In addition to meetings and events, the school will implement its newsletters and website — posting learning tips on both — to assist parents.
These tips include establishing a routine for homework, reading at home, practicing vocabulary regularly and asking specific questions about a child’s day to stay in-touch.
Langston Chapel’s newly opened resource center will allow parents to check out teaching materials throughout the school year.
“We are realizing in the schools system that we — parents, administrators and teachers — all need to work together,” Wiggins said.
On Thursday, parents and teachers kicked off the program, meeting to exchange ideas for the first time.
Parents gathered in their students’ classrooms to talk with teachers about plans for the upcoming semester and discuss how each party can chip in.
Parents were given name tags — shaped like stars, of course — at the door.
“For parents, this is about their kids. They care,” Bulloch County Schools Superintendent Charles Wilson said, referencing the large turnout. “Parent involvement is one of the most important things in terms of a student’s success. It’s wonderful that the school has seen the importance of involvement and has taken the initiative to do something to help.”
If the program works at Langston Chapel, he said, “It might be one of those things we try to do throughout the system.”
Jeff Harrison may be reached at (912) 489-9454.