Saturday, April 14, 2007

How to Open Doors & Get Parents Involved in Your Schools

NATIONAL SCHOOL BOARD ASSOCIATION CONFERENCE, San Francisco

I attended this NSBA Conference session this morning and it was presented by Marlin B. Creasy, PhD, Superintendent of Schools and Robert E. Kellems, President of the Board of School Trustees for the Muncie, Indiana school district.

Wow! What a session!!

Research shows parent involvement has a positive impact on the academic achievement of children - the more parents are involved, the better children do in school. While most boards and superintendents know their school system lacks parental involvement, most struggle with the question, "How do we get parents into the schools and involved in their child's education?"

After implementing a Parent Center in each of their elementary schools, Muncie Community Schools increased parent involvement by 45%. Implementation in the secondary schools saw an even greater increase. Fantastic! How did they do it? The Board of Trustees gave the direction to the superintendent to provide a parent center in each school. The superintendent took it from there.

Each school now has a Parent Center (some have a whole room, some have a cozy corner) staffed by a PAID (yes, I said PAID!) Parent Volunteer Coordinator. (PVC). The PVC works 5-15 hours a week as a coordinator and liasion between the school, principal, parents and parent organization. Initially this position was paid for by security funds and later moved to general funding budget item. The PVC recruits, welcomes and directs parent volunteers at the school in a variety of tasks ranging from events, clerical, instruction assistance, and student observation.

In addition, ALL VOLUNTEERS HAVE A STATE LEVEL BACKGROUND CHECK!
WOW!! How did they afford this? Background checks cost big bucks, especially for all volunteers in the district. They have a secret they let us in on. They lobbied their legislature and now all volunteers in the school system in the the state of Indiana receive FREE, yes I said FREE, background checks. SWEET!

To find our more about Muncie Community Schools Parent Centers, including a PVC job description, please visit their site http://www.muncie.k12.in.us/.

2 comments:

richard said...

This sounds like a very interesting idea.
Is the rest of the Board there with you? I wonder if this sort of thing is a possibility here in CC.

Jennifer said...

Richard,
There are five others here with me, I think. We're not all in the same hotel and I haven't spoken with any of them as of yet. I know I was the only one from CC BOE to attend this session. However, I will be making copies of all my notes and materials for my fellow board members and presenting to them at the next work session.