Rainey’s Bulletin: Parent engagement is a must

Dr. Karen Mapp’s message was clear last Wednesday. The Harvard Graduate School of Education family engagement author and expert told a group of Pinellas County Schools educators and community organizations that “all family engagement should be linked to learning.”

Mapp led a daylong workshop at the Largo Cultural Center as part of the district’s Scale Up for Success initiative, which is designed to raise the scores of the district’s lowest performing schools. The workshop was dubbed “Building the Capacity for Effective Family-School Partnerships.” There were more than 100 people in attendance. The district’s Office of Strategic Partnerships hosted the workshop.

“The missing ingredient to improving schools and test scores is family engagement,” Mapp said. “Your schools will not improve if there is no family engagement.”

The impact of family engagement is powerful, Mapp noted.  When a student’s family is engaged in his or her learning, they exhibit faster rates of literacy acquisition, earn higher grades and test scores, enroll in high level programs, are promoted more, have better social skills and behavior and graduate and go on to higher education.

Greg Worrell, president of Scholastic Classroom and Community Group, also addressed the group. Board Member Rene Flowers and Superintendent Michael A. Grego were in attendance. “All of you are needed, whether you are a teacher, a principal or leader in your community, to help turn the tide and to help students reach their fullest potential,” Grego said.

At the end of the day Grego, Mapp and Dr. Valerie Brimm, the district’s director of Strategic Partnerships, met with members of the community group Parent Support for Education Council, Inc. to discuss an upcoming community forum. David Archie, Mayor of Tarpon Springs and the president of the Citizens Alliance for Progress, Inc., was also in attendance.

Last Wednesday’s workshop was the first of several expected Mapp visits to facilitate training and discussion on the importance of family engagement. She will return in a couple of weeks for more in-depth training. Mapp will also help facilitate the community forum with Parent Support for Education Council, Inc.

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