The Delaware State Chamber of Commerce and Lt. Gov. Matt Denn (D-Del.) selected two schools to receive the excellence in parent involvement award.
“The one common denominator that I saw when I started visiting schools and asking teachers what’s important was parental involvement,” Denn said. “It’s the single issue I hear most about form teachers in terms of where we need to improve.”
That’s why, in 2010, Denn approached the Chamber – which already sponsors the Superstars in Education Program – and proposed the creation of a new award which would focus on encouraging schools to get parents involved.
Denn said he also hoped that the schools who won the award would become models for schools across the state.
On Thursday, Allen Frear Elementary was one of the schools selected to receive the award. Frear is the third Caesar Rodney school to win the award in the four years that the award has existed. The award was presented by Denn in a ceremony at Frear.
“We’re extremely proud of Frear,” said Caesar Rodney Superintendant Kevin Fitzgerald. “It’s a priority for the district to involve our parents. It’s our goal for all of our schools to receive this award.”
Julie Walls, the achievement liaison at Frear, played an integral role in getting parents more involved. She proposed a Frear Frequent Flyers parental involvement reward card. When parents contact their child’s teacher by email or phone, come eat lunch with their child or attend monthly family school events they can get a stamp on the card. Once their card has five stamps it is placed in a drawing with prizes donated by local merchants.
“I think the Frear Frequent Flyer card is a cool idea,” said Fitzgerald. ”It’s the type of catchy thing that gets kids excited and gets parents involved.”
Some of the prizes have been gift certificates to a local restaurant or vouchers for movie tickets.
“Our first PTA meeting, we had 50 people attend,” said Frear Principal Tara Faircloth. “We’ve had more involvement with the meetings this year than we have in the past four or five.”
Laurel High School in Sussex County was also recognized. Both schools were presented with banners to hang in their schools and will be recognized at the state chamber of commerce’s superstars in education program on May 6.