Waco, Tx — The attendance rate for elementary school students in Waco is much lower than what Waco ISD officials would like it to be. So, in an effort to get more kids regularly attending classes, the district is bringing parents back to school.
Waco ISD says more and more they're finding children are not making it to classes every day, in turn creating gaps in their learning. It's a situation known to the district as chronic absenteeism.
"If a student misses one or two days a month, that adds up to a month of school missed throughout the school year," said Waco ISD Social Worker Hannah Kuhl.
Kuhl says studies show the more involved parents are with their students' lives, the better the student performs in school. So, this year, school officials added parent resource centers to three elementary campuses in the district, which includes J.H. Hines, South Waco, and Crestview Elementary.
"We are trying to bridge that gap between the community and the school," said Kuhl.
The centers are part of a grant program from The Cooper Foundation, approved in the summer of 2012, pushing an "Everyday Ready to Learn" initiative.
Gloria Estelle is one of more than 500 parents using the centers this year. She says parents and volunteers, like herself, visiting the campuses gives kids the encouragement they need to succeed.
"Some of the kids might not get the same attention at home, so you know, they find someone that they can reach out to at the school," said Estelle.
The centers are open three days a week, offering free services like parenting education and homework help classes, proper disciplining classes, job hunting assistance, housing and resume help', ways to apply for Medicaid, Snap, and other benefits, along with other assistance.