Parents get a lift for school week

November 06, 1994|By Suzanne Loudermilk | Suzanne Loudermilk,Sun Staff Writer

The Harford County government has made arrangements to provide free bus transportation to Edgewood parents so they can attend school conferences tomorrow and visit classrooms during American Education Week, Nov. 14-18.

"We're doing this pilot because we want to get parents out to the schools," said County Executive Eileen M. Rehrmann, who announced the endeavor recently at a gathering of school volunteer coordinators.

"This is a result of what happened at our last spring meeting," Ellen G. Tracy, supervisor of elementary schools, told the group of about 100 people at Harford Community College. After the spring session, volunteers approached Mrs. Rehrmann seeking a way to provide transportation for some parents.

William Paca/Old Post and Magnolia elementary schools are the project's beneficiaries. They were picked because many of the parents in that area do not have cars or are one-car families, said James Macgill Jr., director of the Office on Aging, which oversees the county's transportation system.

"We've never done it before," he said of the transportation for parents. "We want to build a good relationship between the schools and the community."

On conference day and during Education Week, two county buses will follow the same routes as the school buses from 8:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., shuttling parents hourly.

"We'll be collecting data to find out how many use it and if we can continue the partnership with the county," Mrs. Tracy said.

Other types of partnerships also were discussed at the meeting.

Patricia Bonnie of the Harford County Chamber of Commerce and Sam Frost of Aberdeen Proving Ground urged the volunteers to seek relationships with local companies.

"There are many ways a business can become involved," said Mrs. Bonnie, a former school volunteer, adding that it doesn't always have to be fund-raising. She cited a school that used the financial services of a business to develop its budget and another that received shrubs from a landscaping company.

Mr. Frost talked about his mentoring efforts at Hall's Cross Roads Elementary in Aberdeen. He goes to the school once a week for about 45 minutes to read or just talk to a student.

"It gives these kids encouragement," Mr. Frost said. "They can't believe you come back."

Barbara Wurster, a teacher at Youth's Benefit Elementary School, oversees a homework club, in which volunteers from Fallston High School work with younger children who are having trouble completing class assignments.

Her daughter, Catherine, a freshman at Fallston, is one of this year's 48 volunteers. "A lot of us want to be teachers. It's good for everyone," the teen-ager said.

"It's a phenomenal program," Mrs. Tracy added. "It points out that student achievement is our ultimate goal."

At the other end of the age spectrum, 65-year-old Al Morey told the volunteers about Generations Together, an initiative sponsored by the American Association of Retired Persons, the Harford County Retired Teachers Association and the school system. Its goal is to create better understanding between age groups, he said.

"It's important for children to see seniors in action," said Mr. Morey, a retired Bel Air High School teacher.

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