Parent Involvement Builds Academic Success

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RENO, NV - UNR played host to the fifth "Family Engagement in Education" summit Wednesday. More than 500 parents, teachers and administrators from across the state came to share ideas on how to get families more involved in education.

"We know that in our more successful schools parents are very engaged," Washoe County School District Superintendent Pedro Martinez said. "We have to redefine how we engage parents. It's not just about parents volunteering - which we always love and always appreciate - but it's strategies so they can help at home. Every parent can be part of their child's education and every parent wants the best for their children."

Conference organizers say family engagement has an impact on graduation rates and overall academic achievement.

"Family engagement is very important," WCSD Board of Trustees President Barbara Clark said. "We want every child to cross the graduation stage and that's not going to occur unless we have our families as partners. If you look back before we started our reform we were at about 50 percent and so as we build our family engagement so do we build our graduation rate."

Two Washoe County schools were showcased for their innovations in this area.

"Cold Springs Middle School is doing student-led parent conferences," Martinez said. "The students lead the discussion about their grades and their test scores and we're learning from programs like this one and listening to parents so they can tell us what they need to be out partners."