Stories - Parent Projects

Halloween Dance

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.

My Son

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 attitude.

FOK Level 2, Parent Workshops are being held in January and February at Silver Spring Academy housed in Silver Spring Neighborhood Center in Milwaukee

FOK Level 2, Parent Workshops are being held in January and February at Mitchell School in Milwaukee

FLA is working with the Education Committee of the Harambee Great Neighborhood Initiative in Milwaukee