Our Work

Mom and dad drawing with their daughter at home.

According to Grace Chen, Public School Review: Parental Involvement is Key to Student Success. April 30, 2018. Research shows that students’ Academic Achievement increases when parents and caregivers are involved in their children’s education. The more intensively involved the parents and caregivers are, the greater the positive impact on academic achievement. Research also shows that parental involvement not only enhances academic performance, but it also has a positive influence on student attitude and behavior. A parent’s interest and encouragement in a child’s education can affect the child’s attitude toward school, classroom conduct, self-esteem, absenteeism, and motivation.

We are committed to supporting our parents and caregivers trough trainings and collaborations so that they can meaningfully impact their students’ academic success.

Please refer to this document for a full description of this program.

Academic Parent Teacher Teams (APTT) is a family engagement program that provide services that enhances student achievement and academic growth by strengthening school and family relationships. One major benefit of this program is to create a team-based approach to parent teacher conferences. The team will consist of parents and teachers using a group conference platform. During the parent-teacher conference teachers will model various activities to assist with students learning at home. APTT focuses on foundational grade-level skills, which must be achieved by the end of the school year. Parents and teachers collectively meet three times per year to discuss students’ progress and acquire new skills.
The Parent Health Ambassador Program (PHAP) is a mutual partnership between the DeKalb County Board of Health and the DeKalb County School District. The PHAP program educates parents on the health and well-being policies on selected after-school programs within DeKalb County School District. Parents will receive tools, resources, and information that promote a healthy lifestyle in after-school programs. Students are encouraged to develop healthy eating behavior while attending after-school programs.
Grandparents have served as one of the most important safety nets for children whose parents are unable or unwilling to provide care. The goal of this program is to identify, promote, coordinate and disseminate information, resources, and best practices to help grandparents who are caregivers meet the educational, health and other needs of their grandchildren while maintaining their own mental and emotional health.

If you have any question or concern regarding the Student Academic Support Focus Area, please contact Stephanie Valentine-Forbes.

father and daughter reading book together at home

The Parent Leadership & Advocacy focus area provides DCSD parents and caregivers access to knowledge relating to student achievement, the workings of our school system, and skills in advocacy and educational support. We provide opportunities for parents with training and resources to grow, achieve, and empower greater levels of advocacy for children, schools, and community.

Please refer to this document for a full description of this program.

Raising children in today’s uncertain world can be a daunting task. Children are susceptible to so many forces around them, and they can be lost in the chaos without strong, positive parenting guidance. Active Parenting is a national program created by acclaimed parenting expert Dr. Michael H. Popkin, that features state-of-the-art courses that will teach you proven parenting techniques that will make positive changes. The program also uses sound psychological principles that have been research-tested and proven effective in all of the programs, with an emphasis on mutual respect, cognitive-behavioral approaches to change, personal choice, and responsibility.
PARENTS are at the center of our work and we believe that parents are the child’s first teacher! Parents as Leaders (PAL) Parent Leadership Program is a tiered Leadership Development program for DCSD Parents and Caregivers. This leadership program is geared towards parents learning to thrive in the educational arena by taking Family Engagement to a higher level: action through leadership. The purpose of PAL is to build parental capacity in the family, school, community, and themselves in order to support the academic successes of their children. During the Parent Leadership Academy, parents will take virtual tours through various departments and be introduced to the local leadership and board members. We will concentrate on the four categories of capacity building: Family, School, and District, Community Leadership.
The I.M.P.A.C.T. Huddles are part of the initiative for building the capacity of families and school staff to partner in ways that support student achievement and school involvement. They will feature authentic dialogue on topics such as school safety, curriculum, vocational training, special education, cultural competence and other timely discussion topics recommended by the participants. This is a collaborative effort between multiple stakeholders; families, community members, and DCSD district and School Staff. We gather virtually or in person in a relaxed setting to have purposeful and impactful conversations, discussing how our unique differences can be pooled together to positively affect student achievement. These are not just conversations, each session will end with actionable steps, and solutions to the issues raised.

If you have any question or concern regarding the Parents Leadership & Advocacy Training Focus Area, please contact Latonya Winters-Buford.

Family Friendly Schools Initiative

The Family Friendly School initiative has been developed by the DeKalb County School District’s Department of Parent and Family Engagement to help schools create and maintain a positive learning climate. This initiative will engage families and build a positive relationship between our families and the school. This initiative will improve student academic achievement and strengthen the family-school partnership. It is our goal that all schools communicate “Welcome!” to students and families by creating an environment that is friendly, inviting, and culturally sensitive.

Volunteerism

Volunteering provides opportunities for family members and communities to become partners in education with DeKalb County School District (DCSD) by helping our students and schools. Volunteers can strengthen school-community relations and support student achievement. DeKalb County School District welcomes parent and community volunteers.

Please refer to this document for a full description of this program.

The Department of Parent and Family Engagement will offer virtual Volunteer Training sessions every Thursday morning at 10:00 a.m. Evening sessions will be available by appointment only. Please note, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, in-person Volunteer Training sessions have been suspended until further notice. http://bit.ly/DCSDVolunteerTraining
The Exceptional Volunteer Award is an annual award given by the DeKalb County School District’s Department of Parent and Family Engagement. It is a great way to thank the many special DCSD volunteers and organizations that serve our district. Recipients will receive the Volunteer I.M.P.A.C.T. Award at the end of the school year. The objective of this award is to encourage school volunteerism, recognize, honor and appreciate volunteers who have made significant contributions to DeKalb County School District.
If you have any question or concern regarding the Family Friendly Schools Initiative & Volunteerism Focus Area, please contact Demone Gunter.
Parents’ Personal and Professional Growth & Development is designed to support and enhance parents’ education, post- secondary opportunities, and career advancement. Programs and resources provide parents the support needed to develop into lifelong learners as well as productive citizens. Parents will have an opportunity to participate in the district’s GED Support Program. This FREE program provides resources and GED test prep classes, tutorials, online practice skills, study guides, and practice tests in language arts and mathematics. Post-Secondary Education as well as Career Advancement opportunities offer support to parents and help enhance their professional growth & development.

Please refer to this document for a full description of this program.

The purpose of the district’s GED Program is to educate, empower, and engage parents through opportunities provided by DeKalb County School District and community collaborators. The GED Program gives parents impactful resources that will help improve or enhance their personal and professional growth and development. This FREE program offers profound life-changing support that will assist adult learners with achieving their academic goals as well as career and college readiness skills. Obtaining a GED provides parents in the district opportunities that include support to:

  • Enroll in postsecondary educational programs.
  • Obtain job training skills | certifications.
  • Earn workforce development | advancement.
  • Maintain and/or establish financial stability.
  • Receive community collaborators’ resources.
  • Gain knowledge that will help assist children with schoolwork.

The GED tests include the reading, writing, thinking, and problem-solving skills needed for success in postsecondary educational programs and for the world of work. Parents are encouraged to open the program’s door and take advantage of the various opportunities that are a springboard to higher education, to better paying jobs, and to rewarding career paths. Realizing that “It Takes a Village to Support our Families”, we are a community that inspires adults to be lifelong learners, empowers adults to achieve their educational goals, and celebrates adults’ accomplishments as they excel personally and professionally.

The goal of this event is to provide professional job related training, resources, and services to the DeKalb County School District’s parents and caregivers that will prepare and support them with obtaining skills needed for employment in today’s workforce. After registering, you will receive a confirmation thank you message and additional information. Parents who register for a workshop, will have access to view the recorded workshops anytime throughout the school year.

If you have any question or concern regarding the Parents’ Personal and Professional Growth & Development Focus Area, please contact Narva Dunlap.

Our parent and family wrap-around services focus on supporting the mental, social, and emotional health & wellness of the entire family by strengthening parents’ capacity to overcome socioeconomic bearers and in-home challenges that negatively affect their children’s academic achievement.

We offer parents and guardians a direct line to resources, supports, and services to address their needs. In addition, we offer several interactive workshops, seminars, and townhall meetings to assist parents in building their capacity to better support their children.

The theory behind wrap around services is rooted in three (3) major principles:

  1. Students whose health & wellness needs are attended to will be healthier, more focused, and better able to learn.
  2. Families engaged with schools and supportive services will have increased capacity to support child learning.
  3. Schools, having additional systems for confronting social challenges that impede learning, will allow teachers and administrators to focus on instruction.

Our parent and family wrap-around services focus on supporting the mental, social, and emotional health & wellness of the entire family by strengthening parents’ capacity to overcome socioeconomic bearers and in-home challenges that negatively affect their children’s academic achievement. We offer parents and guardians a direct line to resources, supports, and services to address their needs. In addition, we offer several interactive workshops, seminars, and town hall meetings to assist parents in building their capacity to better support their children.

Please refer to this document for a full description of this program.

This initiative is an interdepartmental and interagency collaborative effort to reduce and eliminate the complex trauma students may bring with them to school each day. This trauma, which may result from chronic homelessness, inaccessible health services, a culture of violence or drugs outside of school, and/or familial economic and financial instability, often manifests as aggressive or anti-social behavior in children at school. Evidenced-based programs and events (i.e. Words Not Hands) developed under this initiative directly connects DCSD parents to resources and providers who can address these needs before they lead to adverse childhood experiences that negatively affect student academic achievement. The C.A.R.E. initiative primarily functions as a Hub and living database, that connects parents to resources, supports, and services, while monitoring their progress throughout the delivery and implementation phases.

Initiative Collaborators: DCSD Student Support & Intervention, DCSD Title IV Prevention, Wellroot Wellness Services, WellRefugee Center, CHRIS 180, Legal Aid, Women’s Resource Center to End Domestic Violence, United Way of Greater Atlanta, Kaiser Permanente, DeKalb Community Service Board and DeKalb County Department of Family and Children Services.

To receive assistance through the C.A.R.E. initiative please complete the C.A.R.E. initiative entry form.

It’s Time to Regroup! Regroup is an interdepartmental and interagency Mental, Social, and Emotional Wellness Initiative for DCSD parents who are experiencing life events and situations that may affect the mental, social, or emotional health of their children and families. These life changes and situations may include grief, divorce, professional transitions, trauma, or other anxieties and difficulties. This district-wide initiative will be implemented (July 2020 – May 2021) through

  1. monthly peer-led Family Support Groups that are facilitated by professional counselors and liaisons via the Regroup class in Microsoft Teams,
  2. live and prerecorded mental, social, and emotional wellness workshops available via the Regroup class in Microsoft Teams, and
  3. live large scale forums and townhall meetings offered once or twice quarterly via Zoom.
This collaborative initiative is led by our department and the Department of Student Relations is designed to address and counter bullying and youth violence among our students through direct parent engagement and intervention.

The four (4) main goals are:

  1. Provide parents with opportunities to learn and adapt holistic approaches that increase their children’s confidence and capability;
  2. Equip parents with skills, approaches and knowledge that enable them to help their children effectively navigate life choices;
  3. Coordinate a supportive cultural network of parents that promotes bullying awareness and community responsibility; and
  4. Create collaborations with local agencies that develop and implement youth & family-centered policies and practices.

If you have any question or concern regarding the Parent & Family Wrap Around Services Focus Area, please contact Richard Stephens II.

Diversity & Inclusion Advocacy addresses the challenge of achieving a strong connection between the district’s international and culturally diverse families. We recognize families of English Language Learners as a valuable part of school communities and the overall success of the schools. It is our goal to bridge communication gaps with our non-english-speaking communities and diverse cultures, by offering resources and information through several outreach platforms, communicate in their spoken languages and advocate on their behalf. We will accomplish this by ensuring that the following actions are taken:

  • Strengthen home-school partnerships on behalf of ELL students
  • Recognize and build upon our ELL parents’ strengths
  • Harness the energy and ideas of staff, ELL parents, and students in shaping partnerships
  • Engage school-wide staff members beyond the ELL/ bilingual departments
  • Advocate for and allocate resources on behalf of ELL families

Our first step in realizing this goal, is the creation of the Welcome to DCSD: Exploring Our School District, resourceful online program. This workshop series will assist the parents and their child(ren) in making a smooth transition into the school community. Also, it will equip them with the knowledge necessary to navigate new educational experiences and receive additional information regarding the supports available to promote the success of their child(ren).

Please refer to this document for a full description of this program.

Our cultural awareness initiative is designed to be exciting, interactive and thought-provoking. Workshop activities will encourage participants to do a deep dive into the issues that surround culture including how it feels to be an outsider, how language can complicate communication and the rewards that come from making the effort to overcome prejudice and learn from those who have different beliefs and ways of doing things. We will also use the power of role-play to create empathy and practice new skills learnt.
Facilitate translations and interpretations of standardized communication documents in an effort to promote effective school family partnerships. We will work in close collaboration with The International Welcome Center to develop necessary tools, and the Family Friendly Schools Initiative & Volunteerism Program to create a database of volunteer translators and interpreters to assist with non-official needs.
We will promote and support the creation and development of school-wide cultural activities such as International Day/Nights, Hispanic Heritage month and Cultural Festivals. These activities will promote greater understanding of our differences while encouraging conversations that help us learn about our commonalities.

If you have any question or concern regarding the Diversity & Inclusion Advocacy Focus Area, please contact Anne Ferreira.