Affordable housing, recreational activities, and big business characterize South Fulton County. Defined as the portion of the City of Atlanta and unincorporated Fulton County that lies south of I-20, South Fulton is made up of 125,000 acres of countryside and cityscapes.
With that in mind, the parents in South Fulton are focused on ‘filling the gaps’ for our students and ensuring that our kids are supported in all we do.
There’s a reading crisis in the United States that’s apparent in the metro Atlanta area. There’s an estimated one in six Georgians who have low literacy skills and 63% of Georgia’s third-graders are not reading on grade level. Literacy is a fundamental component of a thriving community and an underlying factor in so many other social issues like poverty, poor health, and incarceration. These associated social services cost Georgia’s taxpayers an estimated $1.3 billion annually.
In efforts to help our students in schools through South Fulton, we are committed to providing resources, working with our schools, and parents to ensure that our kids have access to explicit phonics instruction, rigorous reading and writing instruction and parents understand the tools needed to help their children at home.
Currently, we will have three initiatives to help our students:
We Are Readers Classroom Library Grants: These one-time grants are organized for classroom teachers to put books in the hands of students. Each semester, we are committed to offering book grants for K-8 teachers to purchase novels for their students. These book grants are selected via an application that opens on September 1, 2019.
Partnership for Literacy Workshops for Parents: A critical part of addressing our literacy crisis with our students is equipping our parents with tools to help students at home. Through a series of bi-monthly workshops, parents will receive help via resources to help identify and remediate ongoing issues around reading and writing. All workshops are open to the public and free for our parents.
Write from the Start Writing Workshops: According to the National Association of Colleges and Employers, 73.4% of employers want a candidate with strong written communication skills. To help prepare our students for the future, we are offering writing institutes for students in grades 6-12 to help give them practice on how to be strong writers AND how to transfer those skills to succeed in post-secondary opportunities. These institutes will range from Saturday workshops to week-long institutes curated for specific grade levels.
S.T.E.A. M. Initiative
As we work to prepare students for the 21st century, it’s critical that our students understand that the world is rapidly changing and to be ready we must learn differently. STEAM is an educational approach to learning that uses Science, Technology, Engineering, the Arts and Mathematics as access points for guiding student inquiry, dialogue, and critical thinking. The end results are students who take thoughtful risks, engage in experiential learning, persist in problem-solving, embrace collaboration, and work through the creative process.
South Fulton Parents for Education is dedicated to increasing the opportunities that our children have access to quality S.T.E.A.M activities both inside (and outside) of Fulton County. From competitions to workshops, to job-embedded internships, we are focused on making S.T.E.A.M. a viable part of home and school.
We are currently working to do the following initiatives:
Competitions: Starting in Fall 2019, we are starting to work with schools to help coordinate, support, and find competitions for our children to not only learn what S.T.E.A.M is but how it fits in the larger context of the world. Our goal is to eventually curate a custom event for all of South Fulton schools to showcase the rockstars in our community.
Workshops: Our kids learn through doing and one great way for that is exposure! We are committed to offering monthly workshops that allow our kids to get their hands “dirty” with everything around the components S.T.E.A.M. We will partner with the community to make these events possible with the hopes that our kids will have productive options to help them learn while still having fun.
Internships: Starting in the Spring of 2020, we are committed to matching high school students with internships that support the tenets of S.T.E.A.M. Information will be available starting January 1, 2020.
Mental Health Initiative
Mental health conditions do not discriminate based on race, color, gender or identity. Anyone can experience the challenges of mental illness regardless of their background. Early on our parents recognized that our kids are struggling with mental health issues: bullying, depression, substance abuse, cutting, and other ailments that are rendering them helpless in an everchanging world.
Without the acknowledgment of the importance of mental health, we cannot be healthy. Any part of the body—including the brain—can get sick. We all experience emotional ups and downs from time to time caused by events in our lives. Mental health conditions go beyond these emotional reactions to specific situations. They are medical conditions that cause changes in how we think and feel and in our mood. These changes can alter your life because they make it hard to relate to others and function the way you used to. Without proper treatment, mental health conditions can worsen and make day-to-day life hard.
The parents of South Fulton Parents for Education are devoted to providing education, resources, and events to better equip our community to seek out resources and support our children both inside and outside of school. Our efforts are fruitless without partnerships with community agencies including schools, hospital, private practice doctors in and around South Fulton.
In 2019 our work will focus on:
Education Initiatives: We believe that parents and students need education on identifying the stressors prevalent in our schools. We are committed to organizing events that will educate our community.
Resources: Once parents and students have recognized that mental health is important, it’s important to connect resources to families in need. We are committed to identifying and informing our community members.
Events: It’s important for our community to have events to speak to professionals about our mental health needs. We are committed to partnering with community agencies to bring the discussion of mental health front and center in South Fulton county.