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JPS Fall Conference Draws Hundreds of Parents to Hear How They Can Help Students Succeed

October 5, 2018

John Robinson, Jeanne Hairston, and Freddrick Murray
Keynote speaker John Robinson Sr. accepts an appreciation gift from JPS Board President Dr. Jeanne Hairston and Interim Superintendent Dr. Freddrick Murray.
John Robinson, Jeanne Hairston, and Freddrick Murray
General session participants (from left) Joseph Jiles, Lanier student; Dr. Jeanne Hairston, Board President; Shamia Thompson, Wingfield student; keynote speaker John Robinson of the Houston Urban League; Maisie Brown, Murrah student; Jadyn Bradley, Callaway student; Dr. Freddrick Murray, Interim Superintendent; Jordan Holt, Jim Hill student; Stephenie Morrissey, Murrah parent; and Willis Barker, Casey parent.

Hundreds of parents showed up for the Jackson Public Schools Fall Parent and Family Engagement Conference held on September 27 at the Jackson Convention Complex. The program featured exhibitors, parent workshops, and a keynote presentation over dinner. Board President Dr. Jeanne Hairston opened the program with greetings. Murrah High School parent Stephenie Morrisey joined 2017-2018 Parent of the Year Willis Barker on the platform to share ways parents can get involved with their children's schools. JPS Interim Superintendent Dr. Freddrick Murray also gave closing remarks.

"The crucial role of parental involvement in a child's education has been examined in countless studies and reports," said Dr. Murray. "Academic achievement increases when parents are involved in their children's education. The more intensively involved the parents are, the greater the positive impact on academic achievement."

The purpose of the event was to encourage parents and the community to become more involved with our schools. The parent workshops presented ideas for parents to help them prepare students to be successful. Through increased parent engagement students behave better in class. This helps all students pay attention to classroom instruction. As a result, they experience greater academic success and have a better attitude about school.

John Robinson Sr., Director of Education and Youth Development for the Houston Area Urban League, gave the keynote address. He emphasized literacy and college readiness. He reinforced the important role of parents in student success.

First, every child in Jackson Public Schools deserves the best opportunity at success. Second, along with teachers and the students themselves, parents play a key role in ensuring that their children will succeed. Third, involvement must be persistent and ongoing through graduation. Finally, parents are their children's first and most influential teacher and role model.

"I want to share with you, fathers, that if you want your sons to be great, that's all about you," said Robinson. "Your sons being great, academically, socially, emotionally, even physically, is all about you. Mother, it's all about you, too. Your daughters being great is all about you. Your daughters and your sons can be great."

As Director of Education for Houston's Urban League, Robinson is responsible for all programs in the schools served by their organization. He oversees two nationally recognized programs for youth. Ninety-seven percent of high school seniors who took part in the programs have graduated high school and enrolled in college. Ninety-three percent have graduated college and are now engaged in successful careers.

Parents had their choice of nearly a dozen workshops to attend. Session topics ranged from attendance to literacy, to coping with the middle school years, to college and career readiness. Facilitators gave practical advice for meaningful parent involvement. They also provided safety information and research-based strategies to improve student learning.

Jackson Public Schools was able to conduct the Parent Engagement Conference through significant sponsorships from Scholastic, the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, and the Better Together Commission. Scholastic sponsored the speaker, John Robinson Sr., and the Clifford the Dog character. We are thankful for the many additional partners who contributed to the success of this event.

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