Florence 1's Parents as Teachers Program receives National Blue Ribbon Award
Florence 1 Schools’ Parents as Teachers Program has earned a prestigious endorsement by the Parents as Teachers National Center as a Blue Ribbon Affiliate, making it one of the top performing home visiting affiliates with the international Parents as Teachers network.
“This award demonstrates to our community that Florence One Schools has a high-quality Parents as Teachers Program,” said Florence 1 Director of School Readiness, Dr. Floyd Creech. “Our parent educators are diligently working with preschool children in the community to ensure that they will be ready to enter school.”
“Being named a Blue Ribbon Affiliate affirms that Florence 1 Schools is a high-quality member of the home visiting field, implementing the evidenced-based Parents as Teacher models with fidelity,” said Terri Gallagher, Quality Specialist with the Parents as Teachers organization.
Creech explained that the Florence 1 Office of Parent Education Services is headed by Parenting Coordinator Melanie T. McMillan who oversees the day-to-day operations of the program. He reiterated that parent engagement is one of the goals outlined by Florence 1 Superintendent Dr. Richard O’Malley this year.
“Through the work of our parent educators with parents of early learners, we are building lasting relationships designed to engage parents of preschool students,” added Creech.
“Our goal is to make contact with parents of preschoolers from birth to age four,” said McMillan. “We are staffed with ten parent educators who are building relationships with parents of early learners in our community. The parent educators encourage parents to strongly participate in their child’s education and in the early learning process. Our educators visit families at least twice monthly, providing hands-on activities, age-appropriate books, and the support needed during the most critical years of a child’s life.”
McMillan said she believes that this recognition by the Parents as Teachers program will encourage more parents of Florence preschoolers to participate, noting that almost 400 families are now served by Florence 1’s Parents as Teachers Program.
“We make contact with pre-school parents through local pediatricians and other agencies,” said McMillian. “Our parent educators visit homes and provide developmental screenings that include physical, mental, motor, cognitive and language skills of the early learner. The parent educators then set specific goals with the parents to help meet the needs of the early learner. This process is known as performing assessments and goal setting. We received our recognition based on our ability to determine what the preschoolers need and our ability to set goals to meet the needs.”
Gallagher also pointed to several facts relating to Florence 1 Schools Parents as Teachers Awards:
*Families in the Florence community are positively impacted by the services delivered by this program, which include home visits, group connections, child screening and connections to community resources equipping parents with knowledge and resources to prepare their children for a stronger start in life and greater success in school.
*To earn Blue Ribbon Affiliate status, Florence 1 Schools Parents as Teachers Program underwent a rigorous year-long self-study and National Center review process to confirm that they are meeting Parents as Teacher’ standards of fidelity and quality.
*Blue Ribbon Affiliates are exemplary programs, delivering highest quality services to children and families.
*Implementation with quality and fidelity is vital in home-visiting programs, as it determines a program’s effectiveness in accomplishing its original goals and intended outcomes. It also verifies that program is being implemented as designed.
*Parents as Teachers rigorous endorsement process demonstrates affiliates’ accountability and credibility to the community, and the partner organizations with which they work.
McMillan said parents who have preschool children from birth to age four who are interested in becoming involved in the Parents as Teachers program are encouraged to call the Florence 1 Schools Office of Parent Education Services at 843-758-6871.