A parent’s academic success can lead to their child’s success, data from the Round Rock ISD State and Federal Programs’ GED, ESL and Adult Basic Education programs has shown.
Janifer Wheeler, parent community specialist at Union Hill Elementary School, has led the effort to teach adults in GED, ESL and ABE classes throughout the school district for parents at Title 1 schools.
Wheeler uncovered that parents with low literacy skills are not able to help their child with school work as much as educated parents. Early statistics from the Round Rock ISD program have shown that students whose parents participate in literacy and GED classes have become more successful in school, she said.
“We’re trying to make those connections so parents feel more confident in their own literacy and in their support of their children’s literacy,” Wheeler said. “As a parenting program, we’re always trying to give parents skills to help them feel equipped and engaged in their child’s education.”
Wheeler was formerly a fourth-grade teacher at Laurel Mountain Elementary and uses her background in elementary education to connect concepts between the adult classes and student classrooms.
There are 76 adults enrolled in ESL classes at eight campuses, which all began September 22.
There are also 25 adults registered for GED and Adult Basic Education classes at the district’s Family Resource Center and Deerpark Middle School. The adult students all work toward their GED certificate, learning at varying speeds based on their education level.
The program began as a 12-student pilot class in January 2014, funded in part by a $3,200 grant from the Partners in Education Foundation to continue and expand the classes during the current academic year.
“The foundational piece of this is that we are making connections between adult learning and how they can support their children’s learning,” Wheeler said. “Even when I’m teaching GED, I’m saying to parents, ‘as you’re working on your own GED, here are ways you can help your kids while you’re at home.’”
Specialized volunteers are needed as the classes continue since adult students will need a well-rounded review of subjects like government, science and math. Wheeler is willing to provide training for middle or high school teacher volunteers and classes can work with any schedule.
“Our focus as a parenting team is to make sure that every child that walks through our door is a successful graduate,” Wheeler said. “I believe helping parents be successful ultimately helps students be successful.”