There is something new — something really exciting — for parents and guardians of our students. It’s called “Parents K-12” and the hope is this Web-based service will help bring parents and teachers together to support the academic success of our students.
Using cutting edge technology, Parents K-12 is expected to bring parent involvement into the 21st century, possibly reaching hundreds of parents who might otherwise have never been involved in their child’s education. It’s all research-based, and it ties in with standards that are aligned with core academic content in the areas of reading, math, science and social studies/history.
So will Parents K-12 replace existing parent involvement programs? “Absolutely not” is the simple answer from Dr. Maria Torres, executive director of federal and state grants and our English Language Learners programs.
“What it will do is enhance, extend and deepen programs already in place,” she said. “It connects our schools with the parents of our students, while drawing everyone’s attention to the academic success of each student in the process.”
Torres tells us that there are more than 1,200 academically aligned parent resources available to reinforce at home what’s taught in school.
“There is a resource bundle, for example, which gives parents helpful tools for homework, high-stakes test preparation, and next grade readiness,” she said.
Each resource is available in English and Spanish, and a Haitian Creole version will soon be available as well. Academics are the key to success here, stresses Torres.
“For decades, schools have tried to ‘engage’ parents by giving them information about every other aspect of school life: bus routes, lunch schedules, extracurricular activities, fundraisers, and the list goes on,” Torres said. “Schools communicate the required information in spectacular fashion, but they have left largely untouched the critical information about how parents can help their children learn and master particular academic skills and subjects.”
And Torres emphasizes that “it is simply not enough anymore to teach a student in the classroom. We need to be able to provide after-school, in-home support to students and their parents so that our students can meet the increasing demands of 21st century academics.”
While Parents K-12 will be helpful for all families, it will be an extremely valuable tool for our English Language Learners. Parents will need to use a student ID number to get into the program. The link to everything Parents K-12 offers will be “live” on Monday, Oct. 3. Visit our website at www.collierschools.com to find an icon that will lead you to the wealth of info you’ll find at your fingertips. Happy surfing!
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Joe Landon is the executive director of the Communications Services department for the Collier County School District.