Student success a group effort

Published 12:00 am Thursday, March 9, 2006

When Bobby Armstead and Laura G. Foster attended a two-day conference in Birmingham they learned that community participation and parental involvement is the key to the success of the city’s schools.

The seminar was titled “Policy and Planning: A Road Map for Student Success,” and was part of the Alabama Association of School Boards’ conference held March 3-4.

“This was the best conference I’ve been to in the two years I’ve been a Board member,” Foster said. “Every speaker spoke in terms of strategic planning and encouraged the boards to get both parents and the community involved in order to be a successful system.”

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Sally Howell, the AASB’s assistant director, discussed “Policy Pointers and Pitfalls,” while the director of policy for the Georgia School Boards Angela Palm talked about “The Board’s Role as Policymaker,” and Dr. Julia Mobley, a certified planning consultant and former superintendent of Pamlico County Schools in North Carolina,

chatted with members on “Getting There From Here: A School Board’s Guide to Strategic Planning.”

“We were told to remember what our roles were in the Board,” Foster said. “That the superintendent will carry out what needs to be done, and as Board members, we should not micromanage.”

As a whole, Foster said the theme of the conference focused on how to help students achieve in school.

“One point they stressed was that we need to articulate our expectations from the Board to the classrooms and teachers,” she said, “and from there it should go to the students and the parents. Parents are very important ingredients to success.”

Foster said the more than 300 conference participants were also told to create a code of ethics for board members and a vision for the school system.

“They suggested we come to terms on a common ground on what we want our students to achieve and where we want our students to go,” she said. “But it all eventually comes back to the community involvement and parental guidance.”