Teachers and faculty urge parents to get involved

Without that parental involvement a child has lower expectations about learning.

The principal and teachers at Birmingham's Ossie Ware Mitchell Middle School understand this. That's why they spent part of the weekend trying to connect with parents in the neighborhood.

This school's PTA is not active. Few parents showed up for open house. The principal is just not willing to accept this. And neither will the teachers and faculty. The last time their PTA met was may of last year.

So on Saturday more than 100 parents received this brochure stressing the importance of parental involvement.

Jaurea Powell teaches Spanish at Ossie Ware Mitchell. She says the students who excel in her class usually have parents who push them to do so. "If the students parents are not involved we encounter behavior problems. They tend to not care about their work. And a lot I found don't tend to have set goals," said Powell.

Powell and her colleagues admit parent-teacher involvement is dismal. How many parents typically show up for open house? School counselor Elliot Ashley has this to say."Lets say a hand full. And that's kind of stretching it. For school of almost 350 students, a very slim picking is what we get when we reach out to our parents and tell them we're having parent night," he said. {}{}{}

Which is why Ashley, Powell and several other teachers loaded onto a bus Saturday and canvassed the East Lake neighborhood, knocking on doors, talking to whomever would listen.

Ashley says the group reached more than 100 parents that day. About 40 made a verbal commitment to become more involved. "During those elementary school years when we are very involved at the schools, I'd like to say we need to continue those efforts when a child reaches 6th 7th and 8th grade don't slack off," he said.

Kay Harris a parent we found meeting with her son's teacher today, says she keeps up with her his homework assignments and extra curricular activities. She says's there's no excuse for not knowing. "He knows that we will get on the school website to find out about homework. When kids know that, they tend to at least try to do better. We both work full time jobs. But that is a part of my job," said Harris.

What the principal and teachers are asking for is a commitment of at least one hour a month. Meeting with teachers, volunteering as a hall monitor, or simply coming to observe their child's classrooms.

Ashley tells me they are in the process of looking for a parent to take the leadership role for the PTA. But he says they expect to begin having regular meeting and events within the next couple of months. So far, he says there are about ten to fifteen parents on the roster.

October 30th is report card pick up day. They want all parents to come to the school and get the report cards instead of waiting on the children to bring them home.

November 8th is family reading day.