Teacher Tiffany Smith-Sutton noticed right away the difference it made when parents came to their child’s school to bake cupcakes or learn about fractions during Family Math Night.
Homework came back on time. Test scores went up. Classroom behavior improved.
“With their parents there, students are good,’’ said Smith-Sutton, a first-year preschool and kindergarten instructor at Bible Truth Ministries Academy in Tampa.
And parents grow more involved in their child’s education.
It’s that connection that Step Up For Students, the nonprofit that oversees Florida’s tax credit scholarships, hopes to replicate in all 1,300 schools it works with through a free program designed to strengthen the bond between schools and families.
Success Partners started in 2011 with 10 private schools in Tampa that accept tax credit scholarships. The idea was to let each school come up with a way to forge better relationships with parents that meets their specific needs.
School teachers and administrators took part in a year-long training to learn how to create their parental engagement partnership plans. A key part is the Learning Compact, a web-based software application that introduces school leaders to new Common Core State Standards; state-of-the art learning and teaching strategies; and parent and student interventions.
Step Up For Students, which co-hosts this blog, added 17 more schools in the Tampa Bay area to the program in 2012-13. All but one of the schools came together last week to showcase what’s working and to inspire other educators to join the effort. The project will include more than 100 schools this fall.
“When parents are engaged in their children’s learning, children succeed,’’ said Carol Thomas, Step Up’s vice president for student learning and one of the creators of Success Partners. Continue Reading →