Georgia’s Tiered Connection
This is the image for the news article titled The following article appeared in the March /April Connections Newsletter published by the Georgia's Tiered Systems of Support for Students:

Understanding the Why
FAMILY AND COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT
Kathy Simmons, Parent Mentor, Dodge County Schools

The parent voice is critical to improving outcomes for our students. Family engagement describes what families do at home and in the community to support their children’s learning and development. It also encompasses the shared partnership and responsibility between home and school. Becoming a Parent Mentor in 2003 offered me so many great aspects of enrichment. Not only did I obtain knowledge that supported my son’s educational process, but it supported other families as well. My experience as a parent of a child with a disability has given other parents a level of comfort in sharing with me their struggles and triumphs. By building relationships, I am creating a welcoming environment that will help parents to partner with the educational team. At times, other resources are needed to improve quality of life at home and/or at school. This occurs even beyond school years in the form of waivers to keep young adults in the community and in their homes. I provide the parent perspective and support for all exceptionalities and all ages. The mission of the Georgia Parent Mentor Partnership is to build effective family, school, and community partnerships that lead to greater achievement for students, especially those with disabilities. Georgia’s Tiered System of Supports for Students is vital to bring together the school district collaboration necessary to support the whole child. So many great initiatives are taking place within the school, community and family. By helping to identify them under one umbrella, strengths and weaknesses are shared with everyone involved. Challenges and barriers can then be a focus of everyone. For more information about parent mentors and how to get involved, visit www.parentmentors.org for more.