Originally created 09/01/02

PTA stresses involvement



Karen Powell knows the importance of her role in her children's education.

But the president of the Sue Reynolds Elementary School Parent-Teacher Association wants to make sure other parents know.

"Parents need to be involved, with everything from homework and reading to communicating with teachers and administrators," Mrs. Powell said.

PTAs and other parent organizations received a boost from President Bush's federal education reform package earlier this year. The No Child Left Behind education reform package addresses and redefines parental involvement for all school-related programs.

Parental involvement is the participation of parents in meaningful communication with school officials involving student academic learning and other activities.

"We were very pleased that there was language in the legislation supported by the president and Congress that acknowledged that parents needed to be seen as partners," said Mary Beth Oakes, the director of legislation of the National PTA.

The law also gives parents access to information on how their child's school performs, including teacher qualifications and testing information.

Locally, parent-teacher associations are trying to educate their members through newsletters and monthly meetings on the legislation and the importance of taking an active role in their children's education.

"There's a common misconception that to be involved you must physically volunteer in the school, and that's not entirely true," said Eileen Faucette, communications chairwoman for the Richmond County Council of PTAs.

Ms. Faucette said local PTAs stress the six factors essential for quality parental involvement, which include communicating, parenting, student learning, volunteering, school decision-making and advocacy, and collaborating with businesses and organizations in the community.

Reach Ashlee Griggs at (706) 823-3552 or ashlee.griggs@augustachronicle.com.