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Tuesday, September 25, 2012 - 11:43am

Parents And Students Influence Policy

Parents and students are taking part in Advisory Councils to State Superintendent John Barge. Their job is to share how state policies are impacting students and their families. There are 36 parents on the parent advisory council and 40 to 50 students on the student advisory council.

This is the second year Monya Rutland of Macon has served on the parent advisory council. She says thanks to the council’s input, the Superintendent gave school districts more flexible “learning funds” to spend on local programs.

She says in her children's school they have expanded the school day for 30 minutes. “ For some students they’re providing remediation. They have certified teachers and they are working with them on math and science. For some students who may not need that, they may have them working with their art instructor.”

Christian Hopper, now a high school junior from Cartersville, served on the student advisory council last year. He says they contributed ideas on new ways to prepare for college prep tests.

“They brought people in and we started talking about making a website where you can go and study for your SAT’s and almost have a chat room with other people from around the areas.” he says.

Hopper will serve on the council again this year.

This will be David Campbell’s first time on the parent advisory council. The Methodist minister from Rome says he wants to talk about ensuring that teachers are evaluated fairly.

“Every classroom is different. Every school is different. Every school system is different. There is no one size fits all-‘ I think that’s a fair evaluation.’ That’s the challenge that I see, that I think needs to be addressed. “ he says.

Council member Loretta Richardson of Columbus has seven grandchildren in school.

She says “I’m hoping to get new ideas to bring back to the district so we can enhance the parent commitment to the school and to the students. Partnerships so we can help each other.”

Both Campbell and Richardson also hope to contribute ideas on increasing parental involvement in the schools.

Superintendent Barge will meet with student advisory council twice this school year and with the parent advisory council three times this year.