Parents get schooled at back-to-school conference

FLORENCE, SC(WMBF) - Students are due back to school in a few days but the parents are the ones getting schooled. Florence County School District Three is reaching out in hopes of getting more parent and community involvement that school officials say they lack.

With 80% of Florence County Schools failing AYP last year, they're reaching out to parents and community members for help.

Lake City High School hosted the 3rd Annual Back-To-School Parent Conference with keynote speakers, vendors and community resources helping parents get more involved.

Conference speaker, Dr. Willie Kimmons said that parents are the child's first teacher and they need to get involved in their child's education in order for their kids to be successful.

"They need to step up to the plate and assume their rightful place as a parent and form a partnership. I'm going to be talking about enhancing the academic achievement of students by forging the partnership between home, school, church and community," Kimmons said.

School officials say that there's been an increase in parent involvement in elementary and middle schools but the parent involvement fades at the high school level.

"When your child gets older you kinda loosen the strings on the apron," said Renee Kirby, Lake City Elementary School Principal.

But school officials say, at the high school level, parents need to tighten the strings.

Lake City High School Principal, Kasey Feagin said,"I think a lot of it has to do with kids don't want their parents to be involved."

Tammy Osbourne is a parent of multiple children and said she wasn't as involved when she was working, but now that she isn't, she has been a big part of her kids education. She said as a working parent, schedules are hectic but said there are ways to be involved without having to visit the school.

"Ask if they have homework, if they've done their homework... if they need help, help them and if you can't, get them help," said Osbourne.

Members of Lake City High School class of 1986 showed support at the conference and has seen a shift in parent involvement since they were in school.

"Now, parents aren't as involved as when I was in school. We had more parents willing to come out and participate in their children's academic achievements," said Laronda Hurd.

There wasn't much attendance from parents with children in High School, but school officials say that this program is a good start.

"It is a great program and I wish we had more parents here to see that we as a community, we do care and we are giving back," said Hurd.

Parents didn't leave the conference empty handed. They received free school supplies and backpacks for their kids this school year.

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