January 4, 2005 Extra Credit
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January 4, 2005

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In Jackson, Mississippi, Parents Work Together To Improve Student Learning

The following are excerpts from an article in yesterday’s The Clarion-Ledger (MS):

“A group of Jackson parents who received training to be effective leaders is putting the finishing touches on projects to improve their children's schools. Jackson Parents for Public Schools created the parent institute, which began training parents in August over three two-day sessions.

“The 31 parents who participated in the institute’s training will showcase their school project ideas for community feedback at an open forum Jan. 18 at the Eudora Welty Library, parent advocate Dana Larkin said. The goal is to approve all the projects by March so parents can get started. They are meant to last through December 2006, she said.

“For his project, Don Purvis, whose daughter is a first-grader at Walton Elementary, is formalizing work he already was doing. Purvis is organizing Walton Elementary dads into tutors and mentors for any child who needs an adult, but particularly boys, at the 600-student school. … ‘You may be able to reach a kid one way that you can’t another,’ he said. ‘We’ll come in and do whatever is necessary to keep the kids actively involved in the education process. When they are lacking academically, they tend to act up. We want to refocus it in an academic manner and turn that same energy toward positive.’ Walton Elementary has a WatchDOGS (Dads of Great Students) program, a national initiative the school district has embraced to get more men into the schools.”

“Pearl Wicks and two other Murrah High parents who trained through the institute are working on a project to help ninth-graders develop individual graduation plans. Murrah has 1,200 students total. ‘It’s a guide map to life after high-school graduation,’ said Wicks, who has twin daughters in the 10th grade at Murrah. ‘It’s a necessary step. It’s designed to start with ninth grade and really develop a plan through graduation that will put them in touch with counselors, colleges and sources of employment after post-secondary education.’

“Tanya Coleman, whose son is a sixth-grader at 970-student Powell Middle, wants to work on Mississippi Curriculum Test math scores. Among other things, she wants to have a couple parent workshops to show them what their kids are learning in math. ‘A lot of parents don’t understand the math. The parents can find out what is going on with the kids in math,’ she said.”

The complete text of this article is available online .


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Last Modified: 08/15/2007