Sunday, November 8, 2009

Some of the county's poorest schools continue to come up with creative ways to meet federal requirements for parent involvement.

Federal No Child Left Behind legislation requires schools with a free and reduced lunch rate of more than 40 percent, also known as Title I schools, to implement parent involvement plans with a portion of the additional funding their status earns for them.

There are 22 Title I schools in Pitt County, and Director of Federal Programs Sylvia Mizzelle said each is asked annually to host a minimum of five meetings aimed at increasing parent involvement.

One of the most recent examples of such a meeting was held Thursday at Northwest Elementary. Northwest officials brought in retired teacher and storyteller Ann Lunde to show parents the best techniques for reading to their children and emphasize the importance of it. Lunde read three stories to the group of about 20 families before providing each parent with time to read to their child.

“The goal was to show how much children love to read aloud and how much they love to be read to,” said Lindsay Waller, a Northwest reading recovery teacher. “It was to try to challenge them to read at home with their children. We shared the importance of them hearing how books work and how they create a bond between parent and child. It is so important for parents to play an active role, and we want to provide them with tools and ideas that can make that happen.”

Mizzelle said other Title I schools also are being innovative with their parent involvement meetings. Other examples include, among others, “Book Bingo” and report card pick-up meetings. Officials also hold their own district wide meetings such as the one scheduled next week for Pitt County's Hispanic population.

“The law says if we receive Title I funds, we have to provide parent involvement activities,” Mizzelle said. “They need to be an opportunity for parents to go to the school and be involved or just learn more about their child's education.”

In addition to the parent involvement meetings, Title I schools are required to provide school choice for students. The Title I funds pay for the transportation of students choosing to take advantage of the choice option. Title I funds are also used for tutoring programs at the schools.

1 comment:

Diane Vespa said...

This is an example of "thinking outside the box" that can really make a difference in our student achievement levels. I have often thought that the key to helping the lowest performing students is through the parents. If the parents don't step up and take their parenting role seriously the necessary behaviors can be legislated by tying in expectations with free and reduced services. Thanks for posting this!