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Published: Tuesday, 11/13/2007

TPS promotes parent-teacher face time

Foley Foley

Students might not like it, but parent-teacher conferences are next week and Toledo Public's top educator wants all parents to have some face time with their children's teachers.

Superintendent John Foley, who runs the nearly 29,000-student school system, issued a plea at Rosa Parks Elementary School yesterday for all parents to attend the conferences scheduled next Tuesday and Wednesday for elementary and junior high schools.

"We know that parent involvement is critical, and we are making a call for parents to cooperate," Mr. Foley said.

Each school sets its own schedule for parent-teacher conferences. They will be in the evening Tuesday and in the morning Wednesday.

Increasing parent involvement is key to continuing the district's academic progress, Mr. Foley said.

"There are some lower participation rates and some of our schools that are not performing," he said. "If you look at Beverly and Harvard [elementary schools], the participation rate is 100 percent."

Both of those schools are rated "excellent" under the State of Ohio's standards.

By contrast, Pickett Elementary, which for years has been in the state's academic emergency category, had 52 percent parent-teacher conference participation last year, Mr. Foley said.

Attendance at the conferences for suburban and private schools is generally high - sometimes close to 100 percent - while at many of Toledo's central city schools, it can range from 25 to 75 percent.

Mr. Foley yesterday also reminded parents to volunteer at least 10 hours a year at their child's school.

Mr. Foley started the program last year and dubbed it "Win With 10." He said parents could devote time to the Ohio Reads program or simply help out at the school's cafeteria or library.

The district's academy magnet schools, which have longer days than traditional schools, require parents to volunteer at least 10 hours a year and make them promise to take an active role in the education process.

The announcement yesterday is part of the school system's academic reforms designed to increase its state rating. It was downgraded in August from the equivalent of a C grade to a D.

TPS parents this year will receive "standards based" report cards that, in addition to quarterly grades, include a progress scale for specific skills within subject areas.

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