Two Houston County Schools Named Family-Friendly

1:40 PM, Nov 2, 2012   |    comments
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The Georgia Department of Education wants to encourage parent involvement in schools across the state.

They went on a search for the most family-friendly schools, and turned up two, out of only three selected, in Houston County.

Morningside Elementary in Perry and Miller Elementary in Warner Robins stood out among the state's best.

Christal Reid comes to this Morningside Elementary classroom five days a week. With the amount of time she spends there, you might assume she's the teacher, but no. She is a parent volunteer.

Reid said, "I think it's one of the best schools there is, and my child loves to come."

She feels 100-percent welcome, too.

That is the goal of family-friendly strategies principal Pat Witt incorporates. 

Witt said, "There's a lot of things were doing here at Morningside that are innovative ways of making sure families stay involved with their children."

She says a state selection committee gave particular attention to their parent resource center, their willingness to work with children who need special diets and families without reliable transportation.

Witt said, "We have come up with some creative ways of going to them, going to their house, going to their place of business."

Miller Elementary is celebrating their successes, too.

Principal Gwen Pearson-Kilgore said, "We have an open door policy. Parents are free to come, to call."

She said they invite parents into the classrooms once a month, sometime for the entire day.

The parent resource library offers adults an education in technology and their child's curriculum. Coordinator for the program Yolanda Cummings said, "For parents that don't have computers at home, they're welcome to come use the computers set-up here."

The state also graded them on customer service, looking at their phone manners, waiting areas, signage and student work displayed throughout the building.

Pearson-Kilgore said, "We go that extra step to do whatever it takes."

The state chose the winners using some surprise tactics. Employees or selection committee members posing as parents called or visited the schools, incognito.

In late November, State School Superintendent John Barge will visit both schools to present them an award.

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