Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Parent Involvement I

Schools need parental involvement from pre-kindergarten through postsecondary. These session notes begin a series of ways to involve parents as well as students in education and eventually the college and/or career preparation process. 

Putnam City North High School, which has about 2,000 students, has one person, Dee Dee Stafford, dedicated to scholarships. 

  •      Open House (College Night/College Day)
  •      Financial Aid Night
  •      College Ap Day
  •      Calling tree, marquee, Twitter and other social media

The school hosts open house in the evening with about 10 colleges coming back in the next day to talk to the students for about an hour.  Announcements are made at open house.  Parents are welcome.  On College Ap Day, everyone fills out an application on computers. 

One audience member mentioned using Remind 101, a free service used for notification with parents in multiple ways, to remind youths and parents about meetings, scholarships, etc.  Someone later commented that Remind 101 can sometimes be irritating. [Ruthie Rayner, principal, Stanley Hupfeld Academy at Western Village, Oklahoma City, uses Remind 101 for her parents and mentors.]  

“A safe way for teachers to text messages students and stay in touch with parents.”

Brenda Stinnett at Putnam City High School, which has about 1,800 students, suggests getting students excited so they go home and tell their parents. 

Putnam City's Senior Retreat Site
For the Senior Retreat, each year about 400 seniors divide, one-half of the class on Tuesday goes to Our Lady of Guadalupe Summer Camp facility for a retreat with three sessions.  The other half go to University of Central Oklahoma for a tour.  Then they switch on a different day.  Many students have not set foot on college campuses.  Sessions include career planning, kinds of colleges, etc. [What could be used for a retreat in other communities?]

Putnam City also has a District College Fair (no career or tech) in which students begin to think about possibilities.  In the first year, 800-1000 students participated including all three high schools and Bethany.  The second year, 400 students attended five sessions.  Parents also had a session.  Examples of sessions were career opportunities in the military, FAFSA (usually 50-75 people), etc.   Each year has to be different that the previous ones to encourage attendance.

Session - “Engaging Parents in the College Prep Process” 
Access 360 Conference, September 23, 2013
Conference sponsored by the Oklahoma Regents for Higher Education
More to come...

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