Parent involvement in education has proven to be a key factor in the success children achieve in school. But not every parent knows how to be involved and not every teacher or school administrator knows how to encourage participation from families. Connecting the dots of communication between home and school has become an important focus for the West Virginia Department of Education, Office of Special Programs.
PARENT EDUCATOR RESOURCE CENTERS BACKGROUND
Since 1983, the Office of Special Programs has coordinated the WV Parent-Educator Resource Center (PERC) Project. The purpose of the project is to build partnerships between parents and educators to ensure that children receive the highest educational opportunities and achievement possible. Local education agencies in 37 counties participate in the project by establishing centers to work with families of children in the school system, educators, and others
A team consisting of a parent of a special needs child and an educator staffs each PERC. Although basic services are listed below, how each PERC provides these services depends on the individual community strengths, resources and needs. All PERCs have certain common functions and responsibilities including:
Providing information, resources, and training for parents on important issues such as parenting skills, problem solving, educational planning for their child, behavior management, home learning activities, and other topics to strengthen home-to-school partnerships; Assisting families on an individual basis to better understand their children's educational needs and to discover opportunities and options for meeting these needs; Connecting families with appropriate community services; and Offering information, resources, and training to educators to increase the skills, knowledge and attitudes needed to encourage and strengthen family involvement and positive school-to-home partnerships.
PERCs are housed within various locations throughout the state, usually in a centralized, accessible location such as a school, community center, board of education office or library. Local education agencies provide the financial support for their PERCs by blending fiscal resources such as special education, Title I, state and local funds and grants. In addition, local community-based organizations, service agencies, businesses and other service organizations may provide other supports for the PERCs.
The WV PERC Project is coordinated by the WV Department of Education, Office of Special Education. A State Team provides leadership for the project. Team members are:
Nancy Cline, Parent Coordinator
Ginger Huffman, Educator
The State Team provides the PERCs with parent-professional team training, information on state and national issues, and technical assistance. Federal funds support the coordination of the project from the state level.
For more information about parent involvement in your area, contact your local WV Parent-Educator Resource Center. For areas not listed, contact any member of the state team by calling (800) 642-8541 or (304) 558-2696.