That is the message Rockingham Middle School Principal Shirley Fuller shared with about a dozen parents at the Rockingham Housing Authority’s Rush Building Friday morning.
Parents with students at L.J. Bell and West Rockingham elementary schools and Rockingham Middle School were in attendance.
“They need to be involved in their students success,” Fuller said before the session began. “Parents should make contact with the school their children attend and find out where their child stands. Even at this late date, we have teams set up to help students succeed on the end-of-grade and end-of-course testing, and they can help the parents understand what they can do to help their child be successful.”
Parent Crystal Ricks agreed.
“I feel like the most important thing I can do is work with them at home,” Ricks said. “I work with them everyday, and we’ve taken up a lot of time getting ready for the end of the year.”
“I encourage mine to respect older people,” Antionette Ellerbe said.
For Tarsaha Thomas, the secret to her children’s success is her knowing what they need to do to get there. One is in Pre-K, another in fifth grade and there is one in eighth grade.
“You’ve got to stay involved in their school,” Thomas said. “On the first day of school, or when they have orientation, I always let [teachers] know that I want to keep the communication lines open. They can call me any time, because I want to know what’s going on. I realize they can’t call every day, but if there’s something I need to know, I feel it’s important to have those lines of communication open.”
Another secret to her children’s success is keeping them involved in extra-curricular activities, and Fuller pointed out that Thomas’s support of her son’s love of music has led to his involvement in the band at Rockingham Middle.
RHA Executive Director Angela McGill said the importance of parent involvement inspired her agency to invite Fuller to come speak to parents.
“We cannot hold others accountable for our students’ success,” McGill said. “We have to hold ourselves accountable. The resources are available, all you have to do is come get the information, then apply it, but the first thing you have to do is show up.
“When your children see that you care enough to do it, then they will too.”
Some of the questions Fuller answered concerned what grades take the tests, how the scoring system works and how to help students study and prepare.
“All of these things will make a difference,” Fuller said. “The most important thing is when your children see that you value education, they will appreciate and value it even more.”
Some of the other tips for helping students prepare for and take the tests include:
Studying with them.
Make sure they have a good night’s sleep the night before, and eat breakfast the morning of, the tests.
Stay involved, and offer them encouragement.
Staff Writer Philip D. Brown can be reached at (910) 997-3111 ext. 32, or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.