Thursday, November 15, 2012

American Education Week and Parent Engagement Month

As I write this, the sun is still considering whether it will rise and the darkness of the night remains, yet I am excited to be awake! Sure, I am a little sleepy from only a few hours of rest, but the potential of the day is invigorating.

You see, this week is American Education Week, this month is Parent Engagement Month, and today my new baby boy is one week old. The hope and promise for all three of these intertwined events is not lost on me. Education is the backbone of our great country. Parent engagement in the educational process is essential to student success, and I, as a father and educator, have the opportunity to play an important role in both endeavors.

Co-sponsored by the National Education Association and the American Legion, American Education Week was first observed in 1921. Seeing that 25 percent of the country’s World War I draftees were illiterate and nine percent were physically unfit, representatives from these two organizations set forth on a path to generate public support for education. Nearly a century later, the United States Department of Education and the National Parent Teacher Association are merely two of the numerous organizations and entities that set aside the week prior to Thanksgiving each year to celebrate and support education in America.

Oconee County is fortunate to have tremendous educators in our schools. In fact, we had the honor and privilege of inducting two of those educators into the OCS Hall of Fame Monday evening. Mrs. Martha Brodrick and Mr. Roger Bailey were celebrated by friends, family, and community members in a ceremony that left everyone in the room clearly understanding the impact educators and education have on young people in Oconee County. It was a great start to American Education Week.

Governor Nathan Deal, recognizing the importance of education and parental involvement, has proclaimed the month of November as Parent Engagement Month as well. Within his proclamation he writes, “Education is the gateway to a brighter future for our children and our state. Georgia is committed to excellence in education and recognizes the importance of family participation in that pursuit of excellence.” He further proclaims that, “Partnerships are powerful, and by working directly with their children’s schools and teachers, parents can build a strong foundation on which their children will thrive.”

Once again, it is my belief that Oconee County is a tremendous example of an involved parent community. The partnerships I see at our schools are tremendous and lead to enhanced learning opportunities for our students. Yet, as always, I am curious as to your thoughts. What can we do to further enhance our parental partnerships? How can we better celebrate outstanding educators? How can you, as a parent or community member, assist in that process?

And finally, how do I get a little more sleep with a one-week old in the house?

I look forward to your input, your answers, and your ideas – especially on the last question.

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