Parent Links Program Promotes Literacy at Trevitt Elementary
Partners Achieving Community Transformation and the Columbus chapter of The Links, Inc. recently decided that while backpack and school supplies giveaways are beneficial to students, it isn’t enough when it comes to making sure they become literate.
At the beginning of the school year, the organizations partnered to introduce a new program, Parent Links, at Trevitt Elementary School.
Parent Links is a mentoring program that will follow current Pre-K students for five years. Each of 22 students and their parents or guardians will be paired with a mentor, who will read with the student twice a month and meet with the family once a month.
The goal of the program is to ensure that students are reading at grade level by third grade. Links, Inc. president Darla Ball found in her research that students who don’t read at reading level by third grade have a significantly lower likelihood of success.
“We found that literacy was a challenge for our youth and it really just felt like that is a lifelong issue,” Ball says.
Ball and the Columbus chapter of Links, Inc., an international women’s not-for-profit service organization, brought their idea to help promote literacy to PACT. The organization who had already been doing some work in improving Columbus City Schools.
As of August 2015, PACT has partnered with Columbus City Schools to transform seven schools in the Columbus area into Health Sciences Academies, which integrates health and science training across the curriculum. The Parent Links program is an extension of PACT’s work, and seeks to integrate more deeply into a child’s life.
“The research tells us that if we fail to engage parents it’s really hard to educate kids at the kind of level that we could and should.” says Tei Street, education director for PACT.
The monthly meetings will focus on areas of concern that parents have discussed in surveys including healthy eating habits, medical and physical fitness, financial literacy and understanding school assessments their children take.
Students will take a reading assessment at the beginning and the end of each year. With measurable results, Ball says she hopes they will be able to duplicate the program at other schools.
“We will have data to back up what we’re doing in the schools so that we can have evidence to show if we do this, if we start early, if we involve the parents and the entire family that this will lead to success for everybody,” Ball says.
Street says there’s no harm in trying something new.
“We know what doesn’t work because we’ve tried so many things,” she says. “People go to the same solutions over and over again and it’s not changing the outcomes for kids. We don’t risk anything by trying something new and what we know is areas where there is strong parental engagement with the school, the scores rise. ”