DeKalb County School Systems’ Parenting Partners Program held its first graduation Sunday recognizing individuals throughout DeKalb County communities.

The DeKalb County Parenting Partners Program provides enhanced educational opportunities designed to promote, build leadership, empower parents to be skilled, confident and positive leaders in their homes, schools and communities.

Parents participate in a series of 90-minute classes over six weeks, and through these workshops, parents learn skills aimed to build and promote vital contributors to their child’s success.

“We are excited to recognize and praise our parents for completing the Parenting Partners Workshop and for the positive changes that you have made,” said DeKalb County School Systems Parental Engagement Specialist Tara Kirby.

Within the DeKalb County school system, Kirby said a lot of times parents want to be involved; however, they face language, economic and work barriers, making it hard for them to be involved.

“Hopefully, through this program, we have formed a partnership and relationships, so we can all be more successful in [encouraging involvement],” she said. “As educators, we are dedicated to the academic system, but we know we can all do better and I think if we support the family system and we support that base, there is no limit to academic success.”

DeKalb County Superintendent Jason Barnett took the floor during last weekend’s event, congratulating all participants for their hard work, dedication and involvement in their communities.

Barnett said the school system understands schools play a significant role in a child's life, providing them with the education tool to be successful in life. However, they also saw and understood the need for parental involvement. As a result, the DeKalb County Schools established the Parenting Partners program.

“For the parents who wanted to be involved and are trying to be involved, we wanted to remove barriers,” he said. “We determined this [program] was a wise use of our funds, to engage parents throughout all of our schools and communities for the betterment of our schools, the betterment of our children.”

Barnett reinforced the importance of parental involvement, saying it takes everyone from the students to educators to the parents working together to provide students with the best resources for a successful future.

“I think [the program] has been very successful and I am honored to be here today,” he said. “I appreciate you all for taking that leap. If you’ve enjoyed this program, which looks to me like you all have, please share it.”

Sharing parent testimonials of their experience with the evening's program were Leisha Hancock, Ashley Pettyjohn, Brandy Dupree and Andy Esteban.

DeKalb County Parenting Partners Fall 2020 Graduates are as follow: Ashley Pettyjohn, Mitch Mitchell, Starr Mitchell, Rebecca Ward, Brandon Chambers, Becky Chambers, Tamera Esteban, Andy Esteban, Connie McElhaney, Rita Stutts, Brandy Dupree, Donna York, Elizabeth Langston, Amy Dennis, Kristie Curtis, Velvet Stevens, Stacie Harris, Jessenia Gallegos, Hannah Chandler, Maria Segura, Elsa Cuellar, Brooke Williams, Westley Morgan, Natasha Vaugn, Tawnya Causey, Yoselin Garcia, TJ Henderson, Felicia Henderson, Misty Spence, Tereza Jose, Rachel Cruz, Manuel Francisco, Emily Bankston, Kelly Dawson, Suzanne Ramsey, Ashley Crum, Lori Simpson, Steve Galloway, Pat Galloway, Rachel Neal, Leisha Hancock, Randi Williams, Janet Eakins, Janice Fowler, Jamie Christie, Amanda Murdock, Jody Hill, Carla Johnson, Rockie Pendergrass, Gladys Barreto and Wendy Olchawa.

Graduates included parents from Henagar, Valley Head, Moon Lake, Geraldine, Collinsville, Ruhama and Crossville communities.

Among those attending Sunday evenings graduation was Federal Programs Director Jennifer Williams, Administrator and Counselor from Geraldine High School Marilyn Brown, Ruhama Junior High School Principal Stevie Green, DeKalb County Board Chairman Randy Peppers and board member Carol Hiett.

Kirby also took a moment to thank the following individuals and businesses for their support in providing snacks and door prizes each week: Amanda Hayes, Brenda Gembe, Christi Black, Cool Tools, Crossville Drugs, Crossville Nutrition, Dalla’s Place, Farmers Telecommunications Cooperative, Geraldine Drugs, Kilpatrick Pharmacy, Limons in Henagar and Crossville, Mason Jar, Nucor-Vulcraft, Renee Fraley, Shina’s Sweet Treats, The Willow Tree and Tiger Lily.

Graduation sponsors include Representative Nathaniel Ledbetter, the City of Henagar and the Town of Geraldine.

For more information or to join, contact DeKalb County Schools Parental Engagement Specialist Tara Kirby at 256-638-7265, ext. 117 and for regular updates, follow DeKalb County Schools Parental and Community Engagement on Facebook.

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