March 4, 2015 10:07:15 AM
Local parents interested in making an impact in their public schools are in luck.
"Parents for Public Schools" free parent training in the Golden Triangle still has open spots. The "Parent Engagement Program" is a four day, free event with spots available for 30 Golden Triangle parents and community members. The day-long classes will be held March 27 and 28, and April 24 and 25 at Columbus Municipal School District's Brandon Central Services Center. There is no cost to attend the event. Meals will be provided. The deadline to apply is March 9.
Sally Gray, the northeast Mississippi region parent coach with "Parents for Public Schools," said the event's goal is to strengthen public schools by helping parents and the community better understand their potential impact within public schools. Gray wants to help participants understand school jargon, test data and learning styles, and increase overall understanding to be better equipped to make a difference in their district.
"Our goal is for our graduates to be ready to develop and implement leadership plans to reduce barriers to learning," Gray said.
Gray has been working the "Parents for Public Schools since 2008," after a career as an administrative assistant in Tupelo Public Schools. "Parents for Public Schools" is a national organization founded in Jackson. There is a Starkville chapter, but Gray said it is hard to develop many chapters in a state as rural as Mississippi.
She hopes this training session will be attended by parents and those she refers to as "community connectors," who may not have students in school, but who hold influence in their communities. Graduates of the "Parent Engagement Program" often go on to be active in local districts.
Gray said former graduates have joined PTO groups and applied for school board positions, but ideal candidates to take the course are not necessarily those already involved with PTOs. She wants graduates of the program to stay involved with "Parents for Public Schools" for at least two years after the course, and said previous classes have done so.
"I'm still in touch with people who took the first class in 2009," Gray said.
Gray has previously hosted the "Parent Engagement Program" in Lee County, but she wanted to work in the Golden Triangle this time. CMSD has put in more Title One money for parental events than other local districts, so it was chosen to host the class.
Jannette Adams, the director of grants and strategic partnerships with CMSD, said the district is happy to be hosting the class. Given the limited class spots, the district hopes attendees share their knowledge with others.
"We are hoping to get parents to do the training and that those parents will be teaching others," Adams said.
Those interested can register online at: http://www.parents4publicschools.org/apply-2015-parent-engagement-program
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