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A PLACE FOR PARENTS AT HILLEY ELEMENTARY SCHOOL
When teachers at H.D. Hilley wrote the school mission statement, they specifically recognized the important role of parents as participants in the education of their children. However, because many Hilley parents are native Spanish-speakers, teachers were concerned that language barriers would discourage their participation in the life of the school.
A Challenge Grant for Technology Innovation from the U.S. Department of Education has been an important resource at Hilley for getting parents into the school and more directly involved with their childrens learning. The grant funding supports new technology for classrooms, students, and parents. Hilleys on-campus Parent Center is funded by the grant and provides a place where parents can learn about technology, check out computers for use at home, and also attend adult basic education and parenting classes.
The center has become a place where teachers, students, and parents come together in a "circle of learning." For example, a resource teacher who leads the parenting classes reports, "The classes are a learning tool for me. At the same time that I am teaching the parents, I learn from them about their children how they learn and what might help them succeed."
Another teacher, who has taught his students to tutor parents in the use of the centers computers, is proud of everyones success: "I encourage the children to work with the parents the way I have worked with them. They are effective teachers because they can say, When I began, I didnt know anything, either. We all start this as blank slates."
Best of all, as another teacher points out, "When parents are in the Parent Center, they are accessible to the kids and to the staff."
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