IMPACT Hub provides wraparound services to DeKalb parents

Dr. Green, board member, and employees cut ribbonA new chapter for student and family success in DeKalb County was opened at DeKalb County School District (DCSD) on Thursday, Aug. 23, as the district celebrated the grand opening of its new Family IMPACT Hub.

The new Family IMPACT Hub is located on the north side of the Robert R. Freeman Administrative & Instructional Complex, 1701 Mountain Industrial Blvd., Stone Mountain, GA 30083.

DCSD, through the Department of Parent & Family Engagement, has been working diligently to provide parents and families with the support needed to impact student achievement. According to department director Marcia Coward, the goal is to provide parents with resources so they, in turn, can provide a home environment that is conducive to learning.

“What we do every day is impact the lives of our parents so that we can help their children,” Coward said. “All of our parents are not created equal, and training them over time, they will become active contributors. We’re going to teach our parents to be leaders. Show me a struggling child, and I’ll tell you that they’re coming from a struggling home. If we help the whole child, everyone will be better all around.”

The Family IMPACT Hub—which stands for Involving and Motivating Parents to be Active Contributors over Time—will provide a one-stop shop for information involving academic support, leadership and advocacy training, volunteerism, personal and professional growth, as well as other needed “wrap-around” services.

According to a mission statement from the department, the Family IMPACT Hub’s focus is informed by data and research that identifies the most demanding areas of need for parents. The resources provided by the Family IMPACT Hub will help positively affect how, when, and where DCSD families become involved in the advancement of students.

DCSD currently has six Family Engagement Centers throughout DeKalb County, each of which provides support in these endeavors.

“Family engagement matters at DeKalb County School District and we have put our money and our resources where our mouth is,” said DCSD Superintendent/CEO Dr. R. Stephen Green. “This expansion of scope, scale, and the depth of family engagement—reaching way beyond the student to parents and grandparents. Do you want to talk about economic development? This is economic development. We’re getting generations ready to go into the workforce, to be positive, productive, generating members.”

A program that originated from the Family IMPACT Hub that has already shown positive, lasting results has been the Adult Education GED Program, which helps parents pursue and obtain a General Education Diploma (GED) through partnerships with higher education institutions as well as district-provided tutors.

first DeKalb GED program graduate smiles in regalia

Approximately 20 parents participated in the pilot version of the program in Summer 2018. More than 370 have signed up for the program for Fall 2018.

“The GED support program is offered to parents with additional support such as test prep classes, tutorials, online classes, and practice readiness tests,” said Narva Dunlap, a specialist with Parent & Family Engagement who heads the GED program. “The success stories that have developed as a result of this program are outstanding. We hoped our parents were ready, and they were. We hoped they were ready to enroll in college, find a better job, and help their families. We are committed to helping our parents excel in education.”

Providing these sorts of resources has been a mission for DeKalb County Board of Education member Dr. Joyce Morley since joining the Board in 2013.

“You must have an education. Everyone should have one,” Morley said. “If you have an education, you can get your foot in the door, and they can’t slam the door on your foot. It guarantees some semblance of respect. But as we look around, we see that many people have not been afforded the opportunity. Too many times, in education, we try to educate the child devoid of the parent. In public education, we have to treat the entire system. If a child can see his or her parent also going for what they’re going for, that education is streamlined within the family – what a motivation!”

The celebration on Aug. 23 acknowledged the following individuals and groups as IMPACT Champions, or people who are making significant contributions that aid the work in the Parent & Family Engagement Department:

  • Cedar Grove Elementary grandparent holds awardIngrid Braithwaite
  • Marleni Cardona
  • Chantila Cooper
  • Sir Ellison
  • Rita Glaser
  • Cedar Grove Elementary Grandparents Club
  • Deirdre Pierce
  • Alysha Quinn-Brantley
  • Vasanne Tinsley

The celebration also acknowledged Family Friendly Schools, or institutions that have exhibited strong partnerships with parents throughout DCSD:

  • Allgood Elementary
  • Arabia Mountain High
  • Barack Obama Elementary Magnet School of Technology
  • Cedar Grove HighFamily friendly school winner pose with awards
  • Chapel Hill Middle
  • Clarkston High
  • Columbia Middle
  • Cross Keys High
  • DeKalb Elementary School of the Arts
  • DeKalb PATH Academy
  • Dresden Elementary
  • Druid Hills Middle
  • Flat Shoals Elementary
  • Huntley Hills Elementary