Parents are the key component in the success of their child's education. The No Child Left Behind (NCLB) federal law, Section 1118, passed in 2002 mandated school districts to set up policies and procedures to form effective school/home partnerships. As part of that mandate, the Omaha Public Schools, working cooperatively with parents and families, continues to develop programs and practices that enhance parent involvement in the education of their youth.
The Title I program of OPS is actively involved in seeing that schools, parents, and students work together to attain achievement of high academic standards. To that end, a Title I Parent Involvement Policy was developed through meaningful communication with the Title I Advisory council and the Title I schools' parent organizations.The primary goals of this policy encourage parents to be actively involved in their children's education in school.
Policy requirements state that to ensure these goals, School/Parent Compacts are to be formed. These organizations describe the school's responsibility to provide high-quality curriculum and instruction. They also provide ways in which parents will be responsible for supporting their children's learning. Both school and parent are encouraged to participate in a regular, two-way and meaningful communication involving student academic learning and other school activities.
NCLB and the resulting OPS/Title I Parent Involvement Policy have opened the schoolhouse doors and built roads from them to its community's homes. The architects of the program have designed the path to provide a reciprocal journey. Parents are invited to be full partners in their child's education and are included, as appropriate, in decision-making and on advisory committees to assist in the education of their child. For its part, OPS and its Title I schools will educate its administrators, teaching staff, and specialists to "reach out to, communicate with, and work with parents as equal partners...in how to implement and coordinate parent programs and build ties between parents and school...providing staff development, and providing resources for communication."
The goals are set high and are attainable. Parents can, by working with their children and educational personnel, make their school more than just a building. They have the ability to make their school a learning community where the educational quest for excellence is achieved.