Summer 2016

Scholars of Tomorrow

Project Leaders:
Melissa Jo Brassel

Scholars of Tomorrow is a parent “boot camp” aiming to equip teen moms with practical strategies for jump-starting their children’s education at home. This training program will equip a group of young moms to become more engaged in their child’s learning development, while also helping them connect as a partner with their child’s school. Through a series of interactive sessions, this group will cover topics such as early childhood development and education, literacy, school and teacher expectations, parent resources, and skills for effective parent-teacher communication.

Rights Now

Project Leaders:
Luronda Jennings and Jean-Marie Lawrence

Every parent wants his or her child to be able to learn in an environment that embraces their individual learning styles, and leads that child to a more confident, efficient and productive life. For parents of children with a disability, that kind of environment can be hard to find. Through Journey Educational Services, RightsNow is a series of interactive workshops that will help parents understand and navigate the complex systems and laws surrounding disability regulations in schools so that they can become more confident advocates for their children with disabilities.

Summer of the Lorax

Project Leader:
Nicholas Goebeler

The Ferger Place Neighborhood Association will connect with students and families at their neighborhood school, Eastside Elementary, through a reading program and community event based on Dr. Seuss’s book, The Lorax. Kindergarten families at East Side Elementary School will be given a personal copy of the book to read over the summer. In the fall, these families will celebrate their reading achievement through a neighborhood-wide party that brings the book to life through an outdoor showing of the movie and tree-planting activities to reinforce the book’s environmental themes.

Cultivating the Essential Spark

Project Leaders:
Barking Legs Theater and Blooming Pot Daycare

Parents and Pre-K students in the Highland Park area will have the opportunity to gather at the Blooming Pot Daycare one night a week after school and work in August/September to engage in a series arts and culture workshops. Taught by members of Barking Legs Theatre’s Full Circle Teaching Artists program, the workshops will providing fun opportunities for parents and children to create and problem-solve together, sowing seeds to create more arts education opportunities for our community.

Books Over Dinner

Project Leader:
Rebekah Griggs

Through hosting potluck dinner parties at the school, this group hopes to start a movement of parents reading aloud to their children every day for 20 minutes. Books Over Dinner will also create a welcoming environment at the school for many of East Lake’s Latino families (45% of their students) to boost the confidence of parents learning English and to teach the importance of reading aloud in their native language. Families will walk away with bilingual books and tools to help them create reading habits at home that will boost their students’ literacy levels and overall school performance.

Parent Academy

Project Leaders:
Latanya Mason, Debbie Kelley and Jennifer Gherke

Research shows that when parents help a child with homework, they not only improve that child’s overall academic performance, but also the student's attitudes related to achievement. However, many times parents aren’t equipped with the tools they need to help their child with homework. Through introducing parents to educational games, apps, and accountability practices, this program will provide support and training for parents and guardians to assist their children with homework at Barger Academy.  

Parent Involvement 1:1

Project Leaders:
Katie Neil, Kathy Cooley, and Erin Hayden

Through a 1:1 device program already in place, all 3rd graders at Harrison Elementary receive an iPad to use at school and home to increase learning opportunities. This team of teachers will offer training to parents so that they feel comfortable and competent with the devices that will be sent home with their child during the school year. The training will not only equip parents to help their children learn more at home, it will also offer direct access to the internet and online school resources to families that may not have had that point of connection in the past.

It's Friday Night Fun Night

Project Leader:
Joyce Hardaway

This group is re-imagining Friday nights as an opportunity to strengthen family bonds, engage parents and children together, and improve the community. Students and parents from Hardy Elementary and the surrounding neighborhood will come together for nights full of fun activities including student performances, board games, gardening, and exercises designed to promote parents and children learning together. Each week a free, healthy dinner partially sourced from the community garden will be served while parents receive educational strategies to help their children, reminding them that opportunities to learn can easily be found outside the classroom.

Kindergarten Readiness

Project Leaders:
Becky Cox and Stacey Barton

Led by two kindergarten teachers who understand that the earliest years of childhood education are critical for later success, this program focuses on successfully preparing children ages 3-5 for kindergarten at Red Bank Elementary. Kindergarten Readiness will reach out to parents in the Red Bank school zone through a text messaging subscription that offers practical tips to help parents prepare their children for school through everyday activities. They will also hold inviting and accessible monthly meetings to strengthen relationships between parents and the school.

Chattanooga School Guide

Project Leader:
Katie Smith

Modeled after the Memphis School Guide, The Chattanooga School Guide will be a one-stop online resource to help families understand all of their options when deciding where to send their child to school. By pulling together important academic data, personal insights from teachers and students, and enrollment information, the Chattanooga School Guide hopes to paint a holistic picture of what makes a good school, and help local parents decide on the best fit for their kids.


Project leader:
Gabriel Trujillo

Amistad, which translates to “friendship” in Spanish, is a counseling program that will work to build mutual support among Latino male students at Orchard Knob Middle School who are facing acculturation issues. Through weekly counseling groups with students and monthly social gatherings with the students' parents, Amistad will promote trust and collaboration between school and home, while also providing support and resources for the success of these students while they are overcoming the barriers that come with adjusting to a new culture.

Orchard Knob Back to School Bash

Project Leaders:
Jennifer Whalen

The Back to School Bash will bring together school staff, parents, students and community members to plan and host a back to school block party at Orchard Knob Middle School. In addition to providing school supplies and a chance to socialize, the party will help parents take ownership of their child’s education and open the door to longer lasting relationships between all members of the Highland Park community, including students, parents, community members and teachers.