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Parent mentors provide information and resources to parents to empower them to help their children succeed in school and transition from school to adult life. Often this support begins when children are first referred to special education, and parents are learning about the special education process. Mentors encourage parents to be actively engaged in their child’s education and to participate in Individualized Educational Program (IEP) meetings. As students grow older, parent mentors provide resources and supports to parents that are related to effective transition planning, helping parents and students plan transition programs and services that will improve their post-school outcomes.
Across the state, mentors have had an important role in projects that address improving reading and math achievement. These mentors have worked with teachers and administrators to provide additional supports needed to support struggling students, and they have helped parents learn to use strategies at home to support math and reading success. Mentors also partner with over 700 Title I Parent Involvement Coordinators to align their work with district family engagement activities for at-risk students.
Many parent mentors have also worked with families, teachers, administrators and community partners in projects designed to improve transition planning, decrease the number students with disabilities dropping out of school, increase the number of students who graduate with a high school diploma, and improve post-school outcomes. Many of these initiatives, such as GraduateFIRST, are funded through Georgia’s State Personnel Development Grant (SPDG).
Over the past five years, mentors have worked with school and community partners in participating Graduate First schools to engage families in the school’s efforts to keep students in school and working toward a diploma. In some districts, parent mentors have coordinated Circles of Adults Focusing on Education (C.A.F.E.s,), a dialogue method that engages school staff, parents, and community members in guided conversations about the factors contributing to students dropping out of school and in identifying creative ways to work together to address these factors.
Scroll down to link to SPDG initiatives: