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GIPS aims to grow parent engagement opportunities

Parents are an important part of Grand Island Public School, as they play a role in student achievement. GIPS values parents and wants to grow the involvement opportunities in schools.

In order to more effectively grow parent engagement opportunities, GIPS will shift away from specifically using Parent University. Parent University provided some programs in some schools and also had information on community resources for assistance with different needs.

Though Parent University will be no more, parent engagement and involvement will continue to grow and thrive. GIPS is building upon what was learned through Parent University data.

“Parent University provided the foundation that GIPS needed in order to grow parent engagement,” said Jennifer Worthington, chief of strategic partnerships and stakeholder engagement. “We are building upon and expanding the Parent University idea.”

Worthington said parent engagement is important to the district.

“Parent engagement is important to all of our schools and always has been,” Worthington said. “It’s involving parents in their student’s success.”

Kate Crowe, Title I school improvement officer, said parent engagement is more than parents just attending an event.

“We want it to be more of a two-way conversation and have parent input,” Crowe said. “We want to engage parents in the education process.”

Schools are already doing some of the expanded parent engagement. For example, Lincoln Elementary has a group of moms who meet every Wednesday to give input. Another school held a bring your father to school day last year, so dad’s were able to be more involved in their child’s education and see what they do in school. Shoemaker also hosts a literacy night where parents come see presentations on books from students. During that night, students present their books a different way. One class at Shoemaker does a restaurant theme with books where different courses of the “meal” are literacy activities. For example, the dessert course may be making a bookmark.

Worthington said the new direction with parent engagement will still support parents with other needs and providing information about community resources.

Crowe said research has proven that the more parents are involved and engaged with the school, the more successful students are. She said data shows that students get better grades, have a higher chance of graduating, have less behavior issues and enjoy going to school more when parents are engaged.

“There is a whole slew of benefits in having parents engaged in a student’s education,” Crowe said.

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