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Archive for Friday, March 5, 1993

INVOLVED IN EDUCATION

March 5, 1993

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When local parents have a question about how to get involved in their children's education, it's no wonder that some of them call Jeanette Wisdom.

The local mother of two has four filing cabinets overflowing with articles on education, and her bookshelves are dotted with publications on education as well.

Wisdom's name is well-known among local parents; now she has caught the attention of a national magazine as well. The March issue of "Better Homes and Gardens" features Wisdom in an article titled "Parents in Action: Five folks who made their kids' school better."

Wisdom, 1714 W. 22nd, is a co-founder of Parents Involved, a local group that aims to get parents involved in their children's education. Wisdom and two other parents, Jean Affalter and Vicki Taylor, got the group rolling in 1990.

WISDOM SAID that although the Lawrence school district and others in the area are pretty open to parents' input, some parents might not know how to get involved in their children's schools.

"We really wanted to be the springboard for that," Wisdom said. "We want parents to learn that they can be involved.

"Many parents wait until there's a problem to get involved in their school. But it's easier to talk to your school in a `Hi, how are you? Things are going great,' situation than to wait until something happens."

Parents Involved has organized meetings on various school topics. A meeting Tuesday focused on Quality Performance Accreditation, the state's controversial new method for accrediting schools. Other meetings have looked at the role of school counselors and the different learning styles that children have.

Parents Involved also publishes a newsletter, which has focused on such topics as education bills in the Legislature and parents' access to their children's academic records.

MARY BETH Petr, who has one daughter at Pinckney School and another at Central Junior High School, said she likes Parents Involved because it isn't too narrowly focused.

"Jeanette has done a really good job of meeting the many different needs of parents," Petr said. "She doesn't just address gifted children or certain areas of the curriculum.

"For me, it's a real resource. If there's something I've been wondering about, I know where I can go to find out about it."

Rose Mulally-Heape, who has two children at Hillcrest School, said Parents Involved has shown her things she can do at home to assist in her children's education.

"They have given us sheets on the different ways that children learn," Mulally-Heape said. "I've found that one of my daughters is a kinesthetic learner. She learns best by doing. My other daughter is a visual learner, so I get her pictures and show her videos."

Mulally-Heape said she even won a book about parental involvement in education as a door prize at one of the Parents Involved meetings.

Wisdom said "Better Homes and Gardens" might have learned about her group through the National Committee for Citizens in Education, which Wisdom often uses as a source of information.

Wisdom said informing parents is often the first step to achieving her goals.

"When parents are learning, they're getting involved," she said.

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