Chronic Absenteeism Cut by 30% in Last Three Years
In partnership with Believe 2 Become, parent leaders from Grand Rapids Public Schools will celebrate two years of steadily improving attendance as they kick off a new school year of parent engagement activities on Wednesday.
Fourth Annual Parent Engagement Kickoff
6 to 7:30 p.m.
Wednesday, October 7, 2015
Ottawa Hills High School
“For several years now, GRPS parents and educators have been working in collaboration,” said Mel Atkins II, executive director of community and student affairs at Grand Rapids Public Schools. “Together, we created Parent University so more parents could be confident advocates of their children’s success. Together, we launched Challenge 5 to combat chronic absenteeism and we’ve reduced it by 30% over the last three years. Together, we are working harder than ever to help more students succeed, and we are going to celebrate that.”
The celebration includes several key community partners.
“Since 2010, parents have been formally asking for ways to help their children succeed,” said Chaná Edmond-Verley, senior program officer for Believe 2 Become. “Through Kent School Services Network, LINC Community Revitalization, Grand Rapids Urban League Impact Advisory Table and Opportunity Line, and more, multiple community channels for engagement have paved the way for new partnerships between parents and schools.” Edmond-Verley noted that through Parent University, several parents last year earned the “Power Parent” designation and received red caps at a ceremony in May to mark the achievement.
“We all know that all parents want to help their children succeed in school and life,” said Sue Garza, GRPS Power Parent and Cook Library Center director. “We also know that some parents are working two jobs, juggling split shifts, and managing a lot of responsibilities, so it’s great when GRPS can meet us where we are. Then we can work together to unleash our children’s potential.”
Parent University’s Power Parents will MC the celebration dinner, with testimonials, stories, and special presentations. The video story about the breakthrough success GRPS has achieved with attendance will highlight the contributions of all parties who have been part of the Challenge 5/Desafío 5 campaign: national experts, community supporters, GRPS staff, principals, school secretaries, KSSN and LINC reps, communication volunteers, parents, and students.
“It really does take a village,” said Teresa Weatherall Neal, GRPS superintendent. “Our students have always had the potential to achieve. Our families have always had the power to contribute. Our schools have always had the desire to see everyone succeed. Now we are all working together, and everyone is rising to their highest potential. We owe our children nothing less.”
Believe 2 Become is a collaborative partnership of hundreds of organizations and individuals who believe in the unlimited potential of Grand Rapids students. Through Believe 2 Become, more than 100 local organizations offer early childhood, summer learning, parent leadership, school attendance, and neighborhood engagement opportunities designed to help all children succeed in school, work and life.