Education: Parents play greater role
By By Lynette Wilson / staff writer
Aug. 15, 2002
Vowing to take part in their 4-year-old daughter Ann Katherine's education, Wayne and Kathy Ethridge signed an important agreement Wednesday.
They signed the a Parent Support Agreement, promising to get their child to and from school on time, pick her up on time, read to her and help her build language skills, hug her and help her build self-esteem.
The Ethridges, and more than 30 other parents, gathered in the library of Oakland Heights Elementary School for a parent orientation program. All the parents signed the agreement.
Both the Meridian and the Lauderdale County school districts devote money and resources to getting parents involved in their children's education.
Lauderdale County Family Support Programs Director Denise Knight said the process starts just outside the hospital delivery room.
Information packets include a letter from Superintendent David Little, material from the health department and community groups and other information that lets parents know the school district is there to help them from the very start.
Lauderdale County runs two family resource centers, one at Southeast Elementary and one at Northeast Elementary. Parents can check out educational resources, games and other materials, and attend workshops and classes to make their interaction and involvement more effective.
Even last year, under renovation and operating out of boxes in a gymnasium, the centers served more than 450 families, Family Center Resource Coordinator Winki Allen said.
Allen said Lauderdale County officials work closely with their city counterparts to make sure no child "falls off the radar."
Meridian Public School District Assistant Superintendent Sylvia Autry said almost every school in the district has an active Parent Teacher Association, and they hold open houses. The elementary and middle schools have parent support teams that do home visits to make parents feel comfortable with the schools.