Stories - Parent Projects
Parent Leaders from Westside Academy decided to do
a Halloween Dance for the students for their FLA project. The principal was not
thrilled. He saw nothing but problems, but decided to negotiate with the
parents. Students could only come to the dance if they had good attendance and
no tardies or not more than one. The project is supposed to promote student
achievement, involve more parents and have a lasting effect. I was really
skeptical about meeting the criteria but the parents felt that it did. So they
held the dance. They recruited 11 parents to chaperone. Certainly involved more
parents. The students were held to the attendance and tardy criteria to attend.
The tardy rate went from 80 a day to 30 with one
dance. So, afterwards the principal said, "do you suppose we could do this again
in January?" The dances are now a monthly event with the attendance and tardy
requirement and all homework must be done to attend.
The parents had reasoned that they wanted their
children to think that school is fun and looked forward to coming to school.
Also reading is the first subject of the day so if their children were tardy,
they were missing reading and of course if you aren't in school, you can't
learn. The homework requirement has been effective as well. Now assignments are
done and in on time.
Hi-Mount Community School Sign
The parents on the FLA parent team at Hi-Mount
realized that the information the school sent home usually didn't get to them.
Information is given to the children on a regular basis for their parents.
However, few children remembered to give it to their parents. Few parents
remembered to ask if there was any communication for them. Only when the back
pack was cleaned out-long after the event had occurred--did parents become aware
of school events.
lf only we had a sign in front of the school, I
would know when Parent Teacher Conferences were. I would know when the Holiday
Concert was going to be held. I would know when Donuts with Dad and Muffins with
Mom was happening. A few parents introduced this idea of a sign to other
parents. The idea was embraced by all who heard about it, and added that the
community would know what was happening at the school.
Signs don't just happen. This team of parents
approached the Principal. She thought that it was a great idea. However, her
budget could not cover the full cost. Would the parents help to raise half of
the money needed for a lighted sign for the school? Thinking that half the cost
was $500, the parent team said, "Sure we can do that."
The school's Parent Coordinator had the task of
informing the parents that it was $5,000 not $500 that they needed to raise. The
principal thought that she wouldn't have to look for the other half of the money
in her budget for years. Once the parent team got over the shock, they decided
that they could do it. They planned fund raiser after fund raiser and met their
goal during one academic year. I started carrying extra money to the FLA
workshops so I could help out with whatever fund raiser was going on that month.
The sign was purchased that following summer and
installed to begin the new school year. This parent team showed what
perseverance can do. They broke the overwhelming task of getting $5,000 into
smaller chunks. Small fundraising events were held monthly. The parents worked
to identify items and events that others would want and enjoy. They held
raffles, dinners and sold items. By doing several fund raisers they could watch
their total grow steadily. The parent team became excellent salespeople because
they were sold on the value of what they were doing.
Now when I drive by Hi-Mount Community School and
see their sign, I think of that dedicated and industrious group of parents. They
took what seemed to be an overwhelming task and turned it into a reality.
I am on the FLA parent team at my son's school,
Westside Academy. My son was just a so-so student. He had average grades. I
thought that he was working up to his ability, and I shouldn't expect anymore.
From FLA, "l take the information home and help my
family become better." Examples of topics that made a difference for me are
multiple intelligences and Efficacy. When multiple intelligences was presented,
I realized what my strengths were in learning. I went home and observed my son
and realized that he is more of a visual and kinetic learner. He needs to see it
and to feel it to really understand. From this insight, I decided that I could
help him learn more through these approaches.
Following this topic, we had a session on Efficacy.
The whole point of Efficacy is if you work hard, think you can do it, work
efficiently you can succeed. This made me realize that my son could do better in
school. He didn't have to be born with it. He didn't have to be lucky to
succeed. He just had to work hard and work smart. I started applying this as I
worked with him at home. We set aside time when he would do homework. I
monitored his homework and school progress. I made sure to talk with his teacher
to let her know of my interest in my son's school work. With my positive
approach and can do attitude, he saw that he could do the school work and make
good grades. "Now my son is a 3.4."
lf my son can do better in school, I think that
everyone's children can do better in school with the right parental support and