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Grant turns Copeland classroom into parents resource center

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Copeland Elementary School is providing parents with a new resource because of a $5,000 Lowe's Toolbox for Education grant.

The school was awarded the grant to renovate a classroom and turn it into a parent center -- a transformation that began a few months ago and was completed last week.

Parents, teachers and volunteers visited the center during the opening May 13.

On the hallway wall next to the center's door, a bronze plate states: "House of Learning, Established May 13, 2010."

Inside, the center is painted with warm, neutral colors and decorated with lamps and tables with matching chairs. A large bookshelf will be filled with resource books for parents.

It also contains a workstation area with a computer and a printer.

The center was decorated in a way that it is as welcoming for parents as it is functional, said Mary Jo Weegar, a first-grade teacher and the grant's writer.

"I wanted an inviting atmosphere that's relaxed, that's pleasant, somewhere just really cozy for them to come and feel comfortable," she said. "It's sort of like a coffee shop atmosphere with music playing and the lamps."

The school has activities planned for the center for next school year.

An active-parenting workshop series is scheduled for the fall; teachers can discuss with parents the standards being taught to pupils each nine weeks; and additional parenting workshops will be held before each Parent Teacher Association meeting, said Gloria James, the school's parent facilitator.

The center will also provide other resources for parents, including assistance for those who are working on a GED.

Providing such a resource also benefits the pupils, Weegar said.

"No matter what school or where you're located, when you get your parents involved into further learning, it really helps their children and students and it even helps as a family," she said.

Schools can apply for Lowe's Toolbox for Education grants to fund a variety of projects, said Mike Minehart, the store manager on Bobby Jones Expressway. He and his staffers worked closely with the school during the transformation process.

Learn more about the grant at www.toolboxforeducation.com.


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