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Speak Up for Education offers new format
Statesboro High site of countywide forum Thursday
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The 2018 version of the Bulloch County Schools’ long-established Speak Up for Education event offers a new format, with participants able to choose multiple sessions on different topics.

Statesboro High School is the venue for the 5:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. event Thursday. The Bulloch County Board of Education hosts it for parents and anyone else from throughout the county interested in primary and secondary public education.

The evening will begin with a 5:30–6 p.m. registration time and free pizza supper for families in the cafeteria. Free onsite child care, with opportunities to do homework, play or watch an age-appropriate movie, is also offered for children from infancy to 12 years old to parents who register in advance.


Seven sessions

Half-hour discussions on six different topics plus a “superintendent’s listening session” will repeat so that guests can choose up to three sessions to attend. The main sessions will begin after the welcome and announcements at 6 p.m.

“This is a new format that the superintendent and our administrators in student and academic support wanted to do in order to highlight our initiatives and also provide information in areas where we see a need for better informing parents of ways that they can help and be involved,” said Hayley Greene, the Bulloch County Schools public relations and marketing specialist.

The topical information sessions include “Volunteer: How to become a school volunteer or student mentor,” “Literacy: How to ensure your child reads on grade level to learn,” “Kindergarten 101,” Middle School 101,” “High School 101” and “Family Engagement.”

Additionally, Superintendent of Schools Charles Wilson plans to host three 30-minute listening sessions, for parents and other community members to share questions and concerns with him, beginning at 6:20 p.m., 6:55 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. Following the ongoing series of forums on school safety, that would also be one of many topics that parents could discuss with the superintendent, Greene said.


Rules for volunteers

Educators closely involved with the topics will lead the sessions. For example, Dr. Deborah Mangum, executive director of the Bulloch County Schools’ Office of Student Support, will use the sessions on volunteering and mentoring to inform people about the school system’s new volunteer protocol, Greene said. Setting different levels of volunteer access to schools, the board-approved protocol requires background checks for some volunteers.

Staff members from the Office of Academic Support will lead the literacy presentation, with literacy being a big concern for the local schools at all grade levels. They will talk to parents about ways to help children be successful readers, and also about the new grant-awarded local book bus program and other reading initiatives.

Kindergarten teachers will be leading the Kindergarten 101 session, talking especially about how parents can prepare children for kindergarten before they arrive, Greene said. The Middle School 101 and High School 101 sessions, with counselors involved, will address ways to help students prepare for the next levels of education or careers.

The family engagement session offers parents a voice in reviewing and revising the district’s policies on parent and family engagement.

In addition to all of these discussions, pizza and child care, Speak Up for Education 2018 will include a community resource fair, with exhibits by organizations offering resources such as summer camps, afterschool programs, mentoring and tutoring.


Childcare and ADA

Parents who need child care during Speak Up should call Amanda McQuaig at (912) 212-8513 or email by Monday to register their children. McQuaig is also the person to contact for language translation services and American with Disabilities Act accommodations, which are available by request for this event.

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