NCSS promotes parental involvement

COVINGTON - Officials at the Newton County School System not only want parents to be more involved in their children's lives at school, but they also want them to be more involved at home and away from school.

In an effort to encourage this behavior, the school system is looking into participating in a public relations/communications program.

"We know we need to rethink the concept of parental involvement," Sherri Viniard, director of public relations at NCSS, told the Newton County Board of Education during a special presentation at last week's monthly meeting. "It's not just walking through the school house doors. ... We know the school and home are connected."

Using little or no funds, NCSS would be able to print up fliers, show videos and use other promotional material from Be There, a national campaign headquarters that provides multimedia resources to school systems encouraging parental involvement.

"It's an easy way to help us fulfill our parent-involvement goals," Viniard said.

The material would show examples of parents and their children in real-world situations, such as riding together in a car or using an ATM. The picture or video would encourage parents to use these "teachable moments" to get more involved with their children.

"We know students whose parents are active in their lives have higher levels of achievement," Viniard said.

One such example shows two photos of a mother and daughter riding in a vehicle together - one photo has the mother on the cell phone and the daughter listening to an iPod, while the other depicts the two talking to one another and laughing.

"(The material) inspires parents to be there for everyday moments," Viniard said.

She said the school system can use as little or as much of the material as wanted - from low-budget items like showing Public Service Announcement videos or printing fliers to hang in schools, which NCSS will only pay for its own printing costs, to higher dollar items like having billboards made.

"Be There will provide the materials for the district. They design them and localize them," Viniard said. "The only cost would be if we got something printed and even then we can get sponsors."

More information about the campaign, including materials, is available at www.bethere.org.

Michelle Floyd can be reached at michelle.floyd@newtoncitizen.com.