Exploring ways for parents to get more involved in their children’s education was the main topic of discussion at a recent Ella Flagg Young Elementary School local school council meeting.
Principal Crystal Bell, who has been working at Young for 27 years – the last 13 as the principal, headed the LSC meeting along with Earlean Green, 68, the council’s chairperson.
On Thursday evening, Nov. 20, Bell along with teachers and parents on the 12 member council gathered at Young in the Austin community with new plans to keep its more than 400 involved parents active in the school community.
The meeting came to order with talk of the school’s robo call system, which according to Bell, plays a vital role in informing parents about events like family night, open house and report card pick-up, which was a success.
“The parents say I call too much, four or five times a day, but it moves them to get up and say ‘let me go get the report card,’” Bell said.
According to Latisha Lee, a 42-year-old parent volunteer, it’s harder for the school to bring in some of its younger parents.
“We have a lot of young parents, but even though they might not come to theLSC meetings, a lot of other parents participate in different ways,” Lee said. “However, Young does have good turnouts for open house, report card pick-up, family night and parents come to their kids’ games.”
Teachers and staff also make parent participation better with their parent volunteer opportunities, bilingual programs and parent workshops, Bell said.
“Our parent participation is 100 percent, our kids are always in uniform thanks to the parents,” Green said.
Bell said parents are very active and volunteer to help clear the school grounds outside in the mornings and afternoon.
“We have no less than three or four hundred parents that pick their children up from school,” she said.
During the meeting, Green presented a new plan to have transportation provided for parents to take part in The Parent Leadership Network, known as “Parent University,” which will now be held at Spencer Elementary Technology Academy.
“We want to make our parents strong in voice, we want these parents to know what’s going on and get them to these meetings so they can learn,” Green said.
There are about 12 different workshops at this meeting and parents have the opportunity to learn film and production, computer skills and get help to get a GED, she added.
Parent University is also in the process of starting a cooking class and a single parents class where they will be able to discuss what they’d like.
“They’re going to learn leadership and how to conduct themselves as leaders in this program,” Green said.
The Parent Leadership Network for the West Side network is at Spencer Elementary Technology Academy from 9 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.