School district works to include families in education

With the wide array of issues that today's children must face, members of the Moffat County School District Board of Education believes that one component for the development of educational growth still exists the family.

Because of that, the board has implemented the Family Friendly/Family Supportive Schools program as a way to create an environment where parents can stay in tune with their child's educational growth.

"The biggest problem that we see in a lot of children is that they are just not getting the necessary support out of the home so that they can be successful," board member Steve Hafey said. "You can't just send the kids to school and hope that it happens all on its own. Parents need to be involved in their child's education and they also need to be aware that their voice counts, and by starting this program, we can make sure that happens."

The Family Friendly/Family Supportive Schools program allows parents to interact with teachers, board members and administrators through formal and informal impact statements, which will allow a free flow of information between teacher and parent.

"The way that I look at it, schools are the product and parents are the consumers of that product," board member John Kinkaid said. "We need to make sure that the consumers are happy with the product that we are turning out, because schools really are nothing more than a monopoly. Even when a parent elects to send their child to a private school, they still have no say in how their child is taught.

"And, not only are parents the consumers of what the schools produce, but part owners as well," Kinkaid said. "So we should be able to hear what they want done in the classroom regarding their child's education."

After Kinkaid outlined the original plans for the program, a copy was sent to the Colorado Association of School Boards (CASB) in Denver, so it could make any necessary modifications.

CASB sent back a recommended model, and the school board accepted what they sent back.

"Julie Seavy, who is an attorney and a policy expert for CASB, went over the proposal and explanations for why we wanted it. She sent us back a copy, and we all agreed that the one that she sent back to us would be the one that we would invoke next year."

The policy includes sending letters to parents informing them of what is going on at their child's school, as well as providing response forms parents can use to send their ideas back to the teachers.

"There are a lot of parents out there with a lot of good ideas," Hafey said. "Unfortunately, most of them will let their feelings be known, but not follow up on what needs to be done.

"Hopefully, this is a way that we can pin them down to their ideas and use them to benefit the future of Moffat County schools."

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