Parent institutes on Common Core being offered in Quincy schools starting this week

Posted: Mar. 25, 2014 10:17 am Updated: Apr. 8, 2014 1:15 pm

Herald-Whig Staff Writer

The Quincy School District and the Quincy Federation of Teachers are offering a series of parent institutes at local schools related to the new Common Core educational standards.

The first session -- for parents and guardians of children in grades 7 through 12 -- is scheduled for 6 to 8 p.m. Wednesday at Quincy High School.

A separate session for grades 4 through 6 will be offered from 5 to 7 p.m. April 1 at Baldwin Intermediate School.

In addition, each elementary school serving kindergarten through third grade will hold their own parent institutes at various dates and times to be announced by the schools. Each school will send fliers home with students and contact families through the district's "School Reach" telephone alert system.

Tentative plans call for elementary parent institutes to be held April 8 at Madison and Adams elementary schools; April 10 at Monroe, Dewey and Ellington; April 15 at Washington; and April 24 at Berrian.

Marilyn Smith, project manager for the "Commit to the Core" educational campaign being conducted by the Quincy Federation of Teachers, said the goal of the institutes is to give parents some tools to help support their children as the Common Core educational standards are gradually adopted in local schools.

At Baldwin and all seven elementary schools, parents will get a chance to learn about the "power of conversation." This will instruct parents how to engage in conversations with their children to help them build new critical-thinking skills required in classrooms as part of the Common Core approach.

Smith said the conversations will vary by age group.

"It will look totally different at kindergarten compared to what you would talk about to a sixth-grader," she said.

The parent institutes for K-6 also will provide a free nonfiction book for each child in attendance. The children also will get a chance to engage in activities with teachers and their parents based on the power of conversation lessons.

In addition, parents at all the institutes will have a chance to learn about new student growth data being used in the public schools.

At the QHS event Wednesday, parents of Quincy Junior High School and Quincy High School students will get an opportunity to attend three different breakout sessions of their choice on various topics related to college and career readiness.

"You have to start soon" when making decisions about what courses a student should take in high school when planning for the future, Smith said.

The Commit to the Core effort is made possible by a grant from the American Federation of Teachers' Innovation Fund.