How One District is Connecting Families, Communities and Schools

April 14th, 2011

Category: News

Guest blog by Nika Reid, Director, G. W. Carver Educational Center, Indian River School District, Delaware.

The mission of the Indian River School District Parent Education Center is to establish a collaborative partnership between the Indian River School District and the families and communities it serves.  The Parent Education Center will provide a variety of services and programs to promote academic and social growth and to support and encourage parental involvement within the educational process. The goal of the district’s Parent Education Center is to promote equal access of resources for all students and their families by providing targeted workshops which address the diverse needs of the IRSD community.  The materials and sessions presented in the Parent Education Center will be all inclusive and will ensure that all members of the school district community are able to support our mutual goal of increasing student achievement.

Community partnerships will be essential to the success of services provided to parents.  Over these past few weeks since embarking on this journey I have had the distinct priviledge of sitting down with local leaders within our community.  Our community is very excited about having this valuable resource for parents.  I believe parents have a true desire to see their students succeed and would welcome opportunities to enhance skills.  Our local leaders have been instrumental in offering suggestions for parenting classes, services, and recommendations which have been beneficial.  Because G. W. Carver Educational Center is located in the Southern end of Delaware, many have questioned accessibility.  I believe the location of the Parent Center should not be an obstacle for individuals who are in need of a particular service.

What is the plan for increasing parental involvement?  I am certain each school could identify at least 10-20 families they would like to see become more involved in the academic process.  My suggestions for parent coordinators are to

  • Get to know your leadership teams including your school counselors, social workers, nurses, psychologists, and visiting teachers.  All are key players in the daily operations of the school and in student achievement.
  • Become familiar with the local state service center(s) within your area.  Knowing what services the agencies within the service center provides is essential.
  • Speak with the local churches which house food pantries and outreach programs.  I want each mother, father, grandparent, guardian, with whom I am working to know my desire is to guide them to the best possible outcome or resource which is suitable for their individual needs.

My plan is to continue to make myself visible and available for the parents of Indian River School District.  To quote Mr. Walter Smith, Jr., the administrator of the G. W. Carver Educational Center, “We want the Parent Education Center to be user-friendly.”   Programs and services will be designed specifically to the identified needs of our parents.

On April 7, 2011, Indian River School District broke new ground within the area of parental involvement when the Parent Education Center hosted over 50 members of our community at an open house to highlight the Center’s opening.  Parents and community leaders were provided an overview of available services.  While touring the center’s computer lab, a few families observed programs such as Study Island, Treasures (the district’s reading program for grades 1-5), CMP math, and Department of Labor’s Employment On-line websites.  Providing hands-on advice for college planning and financial aid assistance, Program Administrator, Carylin Brinkley, of the Delaware Department of Education Higher Education Office, distributed information to Open House participants.

Rodel Foundation of Delaware



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