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Community Partnerships in Education: It Takes a Village to Raise A Child

by | Jul 25, 2016 | Children, Community, Education, Fredericksburg, Parenting, School, Spotsylvania, Students, Test Strategies, Tutoring | 0 comments

Many teachers are overwhelmed.   With an increase in state and federal demands for accountability in student achievement, there seems to also be a failure to recognize a very important piece of the puzzle.   Although teachers are primarily held responsible for student achievement, most barriers to school success have little to do with what actually happens in the classroom.   Students enter the classroom with a variety of challenges that they bring with them from home, the greatest among these being family stress and poverty.   

In 2015, for the first time in U.S. history, a majority of U.S. public school students came from low-income families, according to alarming new research.  Luckily, this is not the case in Spotsylvania County.  However, we do have many students and families that are struggling.  During the previous school year, in Spotsylvania County, there were  291 students that were designated as homeless.  This just takes into account those students whose parents filled out the proper paperwork, which many choose not to do.

American psychologist, Abraham Maslow stated that people have certain basic needs such as food, safety, and belonging that must be met before more lofty goals like achievement, self-esteem, and critical thinking are even possible.  Because how can a student who is hungry, preoccupied, or who does not have the necessary supplies succeed in school? They can’t.  Students must have their essential needs met before school success is within reach.

One of the greatest challenges that I faced as a teacher and that most teachers face is trying to fill, on their own, the many roles of counselor, social worker, community organizer, instructor, morale-booster, etc. that are needed to push students up the hierarchy towards achievement.  This is probably why the popular adage goes, “It takes a village to raise a child”.  It does in fact take the contributions of an entire community working together to raise healthy, safe, and well-educated children.  But what does this really mean in our modern education system, and what would it look like to have the “village” actually participate in public education?

In the past, community involvement in education mostly meant parental involvement, and I still think that the best way to improve your student’s school experience and academic performance is to get involved in their school.  However, community involvement may hold the key to solving even larger issues such as high dropout rates, low student motivation, and scarce resources.  This is because community involvement helps to address a variety of student needs including those that go beyond the classroom, by connecting students with social services and community resources.  For this reason, community partnerships, in conjunction with parental participation, may just hold the key to building more high-performing schools and improving student achievement.  And these partnerships are a win-win as they are usually mutually beneficial to the school system and business or community group.   

A box truck full of supplies!!

A box truck full of supplies!!

You might be wondering, who can become a community partner in education?  The answer is that local government agencies, non-profit organizations, private agencies serving youth and families, local businesses, community organizations, faith-based groups, colleges/universities, and civic groups can all contact their local school division to find out how they can help.  Usually schools partner with parents and members of the community to fill various roles such as:

  • Volunteering to work with students
  • Speaking during assemblies and career days
  • Participating in or helping to organize recognition programs for students or staff
  • Improving the physical environment and structure of schools
  • Assisting with fundraising
  • Working on initiatives to improve staff morale.

 

Really, the possibilities are endless and the way to determine the best fit for you is to think about what your company, group, or you as an individual can specialize in.  What do you do best?  Five years ago we, at Parrish Leaning Zone, were asking ourselves the same question.  With my previous experience as a special education teacher in several Title 1 schools, I knew how heartbreaking it is to see students show up day after day without the basic supplies necessary for school success.  So, at Parrish Learning Zone, we decided to partner with Spotsylvania County Schools to start the Stuff the Bus School Supplies Drive.  

IMG_20150808_153931159_HDR

This drive collects basic school supplies for needy and homeless children who attend Spotsylvania County Public Schools.  These supplies are housed at the Treasure House located behind Massaponax High School and then distributed through school social workers to students who need them.  This year is our fourth year working with Spotsylvania County Schools to organize and hold this event.  Last year we had over 70 student and community volunteers who helped with this effort.  The event collected over $1000 in cash donations as well as a box truck full of school supplies.  Each year it has been a great way for school staff, community members, churches, students, and local business people to come together to support children in our local schools and show them that the whole community is behind their success.  

 

We hope that you will join us this year at the Southpoint Walmart on Saturday, August 6th, (Tax-Free Weekend), for this year’s drive.  Please click here to sign up, and join our student volunteers, teachers, bus drivers, school board members, the Lion’s Club, Sentara-Pratt Medical Center, Fredericksburg Sport and Health, Walmart, and of course us at Parrish Learning Zone in collecting more supplies than ever this year to help local students start the school year prepared!


-Nina Parrish, M.Ed.
Owner | Parrish Learning Zone, LLC
540-999-8759

                                       ~Nina

Nina Parrish, M. Ed.

Nina Parrish, M. Ed.

Co-Owner and Director of Education

Proud mom of two adorable girls. Teacher who has developed an education business that started at a kitchen table and has grown into a thriving small business... Click here to Learn more about Nina.

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Ms Brown was wonderful with tutoring my child in Algebra ll.
Pam Cantrell Burton
Pam Cantrell Burton
2020-10-14T16:15:51+0000
Parrish Learning Zone helped my daughter with on-line SAT and college essay preparation. She not only scored in the top 90 percentile on the SAT after working with Lauren Cannavo, she especially benefited from the tutoring she received for her admission essays. My daughter was accepted at Notre Dame, UVA, William and Mary, and received scholarships to George Washington University and the University of Alabama. She was initially deferred at the University of Chicago and waitlisted at University of Michigan and Emory University. She eventually chose not to remain on the waitlists and committed to UVA.Lauren also advised our daughter regarding her submission of a 20 page essay on community service for DECA, a high school business club. Our daughter, along with her partner, won second place in her category at the DECA state competitions in 2019 and 2020, and received second place at the DECA international competition in 2019.Lauren was not only a top-notch professional, she really cared about our daughter and was so pleased about her accomplishments. We are so very grateful to her and Parrish Learning Zone.
Marijayne Kruus
Marijayne Kruus
2020-05-11T21:51:37+0000
My daughter has a math learning disability and hated math. We started working with Nina Parrish and stuck with it for several months. Her grades have improved, but more importantly, so has her self confidence. She now loves going to work on math and will even work on it at home by herself. We are grateful for Parrish Learning Zone!
Laura Ellis
Laura Ellis
2018-12-14T14:36:43+0000
Mr. Chaves is an extremely gifted chemistry teacher. It's such a difficult subject--my son was drowning by the time we found PLZ. This was truly a last ditch effort on our part. Mr. Chaves was able to turn that ship around after only 4 lessons and my son passed the SOL! He was able to distill difficult concepts in a way that made them comprehensible and he was patient and kind and gave my son the confidence to succeed. His actual eacher expressed surprise and made a point of telling him he didn't know how he did it but he was impressed. It takes a gifted teacher to get results like that.I only wish we'd found PLZ and Mr. Chaves in the beginning of the school year.
Wendy Zelazny
Wendy Zelazny
2018-06-08T02:05:15+0000
Highly Recommend
Anne Kater Reeves
Anne Kater Reeves
2018-06-07T22:46:05+0000
I highly recommend Parrish Learning Zone. My daughter was able to achieve the SAT score she was aiming for with the help of her Math (Mr. James Slane) and English (Mrs. Lauren Cannavo) tutors. Not only did they help her with practice tests but they also boosted her confidence in taking the SAT. The owners (Nina and Jay) were always prompt in answering my emails. They are very accommodating and worked around my daughter’s schedule (thank you Shiela for all your help in finding available dates for my daughter to meet with her tutors). Thank you Parrish Learning Zone for helping my daughter achieve her goal!
Beth Yankovich
Beth Yankovich
2018-03-23T20:29:18+0000
I can't say enough good things about Parrish Learning Zone. My son has historically suffered from low reading comprehension. I felt he needed a little extra help so I contacted Parrish Learning Zone. The owners at Parrish matched my son with the perfect tutor for him, they developed a rapport almost immediately. He is now in 8th grade and doing well in all his classes. My son is very active in school sports and the staff at Parrish are always very accommodating. They always reschedule with no problems. My son even likes to go early to chat with Sheila.
Beth Kent
Beth Kent
2017-11-08T18:59:11+0000
Awesome! Very structured and student focused - they identified the areas of weakness and turned those into areas of strength in a very short amount of time. I loved the communication from the tutor and the company. I received a specific report of my child's tutoring session including improvements and areas that needed continued work. I received reminders of upcoming tutor sessions - which I needed!! I felt the individual attention and service was worth every penny AND found the prices to be much more reasonable that other tutors in the area. I would HIGHLY recommend Parrish Learning Zone to any parent that needs to find highly competent tutoring help for their child. Parrish is simply the best!
Michele Hiltbrunner Freemyers
Michele Hiltbrunner Freemyers
2017-03-14T15:53:50+0000
An excellent place to take your kids for any tutoring needs! PLZ is a very personalized and hands on service! Both of my teenage boys have been through here for various reasons and I know we will continue to make use of them!
Tammy Elms Mosco
Tammy Elms Mosco
2016-06-02T12:20:59+0000
SAT Prep Course with Parish Learning is definitely a worthwhile invest !!...My son's scores improved over 200 plus points!!
Janice Boles
Janice Boles
2014-12-02T22:34:32+0000
I am extremely thankful to Parrish Learning Zone. I have a son that is a freshman in college majoring in mechanical engineering. I am so glad that we found out about the Parrish Learning Zone because they were very caring and really worked hard around my sons high school football schedule to ensure that he received all of the needed instruction in order to do well on the SAT testing. It was a great investment for his future. I believe this experience prepared my son for the transition to college life. He was able to attend a top engineering college and to play football there. My daughter is a senior in high school now and was admitted into two of the top ranked public schools in Virginia. She will be a freshman at one of these schools next year. She also was enrolled in the Parrish Learning Zone for preparation for the SAT. I am again thankful to the Parrish Learning Zone and feel that this was a great long term investment into their futures. I would strongly recommend the Parrish Learning Zone to anyone looking for an environment that offers a caring and knowledgeable approach to educating students. They are the best.
Angela Jackson
Angela Jackson
2014-05-15T00:39:39+0000
Andrew Powers
Andrew Powers
2014-02-09T12:32:29+0000

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