Title I gets parents involved in their children's education College workshops bring parents, teachers together

February 02, 1997|By Diane E. Otts | Diane E. Otts,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

A group of county Title I parents and their children went to college recently -- the parents attending workshops at Howard Community College and their children participating in activities at Swansfield Elementary School.

Title I, a state and federal program for children with problems in reading and math, is mainly intended for lower-income pupils. Participants include nine of Howard County's 33 elementary schools.

"Title I Goes to College," a free event last weekend, involved workshops for parents at HCC while their children were entertained and educated at the nearby west Columbia elementary school.

"This is a parent-involvement initiative," said Pat Whittier, a Title I teacher at Swansfield.

The 21 workshops for parents included such topics as "Helping Your Child with Reading Skills," "Developing Responsibility in hTC Children," "A First Look at Colleges" and "Employment Needs in the 21st Century."

While about 25 parents attended the workshops, their children participated in art, physical education, music and literature activities designed to build self-esteem and foster interaction.

Among those happy with the program were were Homer LaRue and Bonnie Kirkland, parents of a second-grader.

Because all three of their children are avid computer users, LaRue and Kirkland attended a workshop on "Children's Technology and Instruction." Said LaRue, "The more ways you can find to help support the learning process the better off you are."

Teachers also received valuable feedback.

For example, during the "Helping Your Child with Mathematics" workshop, Cordelia Gray, parent of a third-grader at St. John's Lane, noted that she has trouble helping her son with his math homework because math is taught in a different way than it was when she was in school.

Bette Kundert, the workshop presenter and elementary mathematics-science resource teacher for Howard County Public Schools, acknowledged that the new methods and new vocabulary for teaching math can be confusing for parents who haven't been exposed to them.

She said she will send a newsletter to all of the schools to apprise teachers of such problems and suggest ways that teachers can help parents help their children.

Pub Date: 2/02/97

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