Working to improve Family Involvement

Published 6:11 am Saturday, February 3, 2018

By Rickie R. Harris

In my last editorials I shared West Orange –Cove’s Strategic Plan’s Mission, Vision, Beliefs, and Goals. Our Vision is “Empowering Lives Through Excellence Every Day!” Our Mission is “In partnership with our community, our mission is to transform lives through an exceptional educational experience.”

Through our strategic goals, West Orange – Cove CISD will:

  1. Promote a positive image.
  2. Maintain a quality staff.
  3. Provide opportunities to increase family involvement.
  4. Upgrade technology throughout the system.
  5. Enhance programs to meet individualized student needs.

Previously, I communicated our progress in the areas of promoting a positive image, maintaining a quality staff, and updating technology. Today I will share information regarding parent and family involvement. Both are important components of student success. Our goal is to provide numerous opportunities for parents and families to be active in their child’s education and/or to attend campuses activities.

North Early Learning Center invites families to tour the campus at events prior to the start of every school year. During the year, families are invited to all student special events and a great variety of holiday programs. Parent meetings provide educational resources for the home and are in addition to the campus’s three scheduled parent/teacher conferences. This month, the campus will host a Mardi Gras Parade on Feb. 13. Details regarding additional events this semester are being finalized.

District-wide all of our campuses hold a Parent / Teacher Conference Day in October. This event allows parents to meet their child’s teacher(s), discuss expectations, and share concerns. Also at each of our K – 12 campuses, parent meetings are held in the fall to address state accountability ratings and plans to improve campus performance. I would like to add that in typical school years, every campus hosts an Open House; however, Hurricane Harvey disrupted some of those events this school year.

At West Orange – Stark Elementary, the Fine Arts department welcomes family attendance at performances throughout the year. A Black History Month program is scheduled for Feb. 27. A campus Go Texas program will be presented March 8. This spring, an Elementary School STAAR Awareness Meeting will be held March 22. Additionally, the campus will hold Open House and STAARY Night on April 19. Cinco de Mayo programs are scheduled for the week of April 30. The Fifth Grade Band, Choir and Step Program will be May 22. A Field Day is scheduled for May 24.

At WOS Middle, four Early College High School Parent Information meetings were held in January. This month, Middle School students will be inducted into the National Junior Honor Society Feb. 12. A Black History Month program is scheduled on Feb. 22. A STAAR Awareness program is being planned and will be scheduled for late February or early March.

High School parent events include End-of-Year Award programs and receptions, an Athletic Banquet (May 15), a Senior Scholarship Program (May 17), and various booster opportunities. The campus also invites parents to events that explain Career and Technology Education opportunities at the Career Center, as well as programs addressing campus Advanced Placement (AP), PreAP and/or Dual Credit course offerings.

Of course, all parents are encouraged to monitor student grades through Skyward Family Access; and, parents of students who attend the WOS Academic Alternative Center are invited to an orientation to review campus procedures.

Individual volunteers are also present in our schools supporting daily classroom instruction. Member of the Southeast Texas Foster Grandparent program are present at North Early Learning Center and WOS Elementary. The Men of Excellence Community Partnership invites male role models into all campuses to encourage and support all students.

In the future, we plan to offer additional family involvement programs. We plan to develop a Parent University, a FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) Bootcamp, and monthly parent involvement events. I look forward to sharing details of each as they are finalized.

We believe in John Maxwell’s philosophy that “One is too small a number to achieve greatness.” I look forward to sharing our progress on another strategic goal in my next editorial. In the meantime, we are “Empowering Lives Through Excellence Every Day!”

Go Mustangs!

Rickie R. Harris is the Superintendent at West Orange – Cove CISD.