Alto Park and Shorter University team-up to impact parental involvement
Shorter teaching students work with Alto Park to involve parents
Posted on 11/21/2013
Parent night

Research indicates that if parents are involved in their child’s education, students perform better in school, making them more likely to graduate.  Alto Park Elementary and Shorter University have teamed to increase parent involvement at the school and help to prepare teachers of the future to include parents in the learning process.

Alto Park principal Dr. Aaron Anderson and instructional lead teacher Dr. Karen Snow are working with Shorter University education instructor Kristy Brown to foster the partnership between Shorter University and Alto Park.  They seek to impact parental involvement at the school today and in the classes of future educators in the Shorter teacher training program.

The partnership created Alto Park parent nights, which are held several times each semester.  Each session’s goal is to provide parents with relevant information to help their children succeed in the classroom.  “I want to teach my students how to get their own students’ parents involved when they become teachers,” Brown said.  “I found that the best way to do that was to develop a partnership with a local school,”


“Alto Park has identified science and social studies as areas in which students need more support and parents need resources to help their children succeed,” Dr. Snow said.  Shorter students created K-5 science and social studies resource packets to provide to parents during the sessions. The packets correspond to Georgia standards and included website resources for parents to use to help their child.

 Alto Park parents have embraced the extra support, and the school plans to host more of the learning sessions in 2014.  Parent responses in a survey provided to participants have confirmed that parents see the events as valuable.  One parent survey response was, “Keep helping us learn, so we can help our kids,”

“This is a win-win for our school, our children and for Shorter University,” commented Dr. Anderson. “Our school is able to encourage parents to be involved in the education of their children, our academic achievement is bolstered and we are better preparing future teachers to meet the challenges they will face in the classroom.”

Taking the lessons she learned from textbooks and applying them to a classroom setting, was eye-opening for Shorter University senior early childhood education major Lauren Shields, of Rome. “Just having the chance to interact with the parents really put it into perspective for me to see how much their children mean to them and how we, as teachers, can help,” Shields said.  “I feel like I learn a lot more when I’m in the schools actually putting into practice what we’ve been taught than when I’m sitting in class.”

During a recent parent night at Alto Park, parents explored online resources created by Shorter junior and senior education majors using iPads supplied by the university. “It is thrilling to see parents working with the students from Shorter University,” said Dr. Snow “We look forward to continuing this partnership between Alto Park and Shorter University.”