Parents for Public Schools of Pitt County is a local chapter of a national non-profit seeking to advance the role of families and communities in securing a high quality public education for each child. The Pitt County Chapter was incorporated in 2013 by a small group of Pitt County parents who wanted to work with the schools, as a team, to achieve student success. The group began the organization with three initiatives in mind. These include community conversations, school tours, and the Parent Engagement Program.
Community conversations occur with any community group in Pitt County. Groups are often a mixture of parents and community members. Each conversation poses questions that acknowledge strengths and areas for growth for Pitt County Schools. Comments are compiled into a yearly report and shared with key decisions makers in the schools. The report not only summarizes comments, but includes recommendations and suggestions for how PPS-PC can help with implementation.
School tours are offered to a variety of citizens in Pitt County. The Fall School Tour series focuses on community leaders, offering tours to clergy members, business professionals, realtors, and elected officials and candidates, in hopes that they will share their positive experiences in the schools with potential Pitt County newcomers. The Spring School Tour series specifically focuses on families, and offers a specified time to tour each school. Throughout the year, any family requesting tour can contact PPS-PC . The question is often asked, “why would someone go through PPS-PC to set up a school tour?” PPS-PC staff can help families talk through the characteristics they are looking for in a school, dispel myths associated with ratings, provide families with typical questions to ask during a tour, connect families to parents in the school, and send a staff member or volunteer to accompany them. In addition, if a family is moving from out of town and wants to see several schools, PPS-PC can take on the task of scheduling tours, in the midst of a time when families already have so much else to think about.
The Parent Engagement Program is a two part model that equips participants with the tools needed to be well-informed, empowered advocates of public education from the classroom to the legislature, and everything in between. Every other year, a co-hort of parents and community members commit to attending a once per month class that covers every aspect of public education, from learning styles to budgets to advocacy, and more. Each participate chooses a project tol enhance a school in Pitt County. During other years, monthly evening workshops are offered across the county, providing information to those who may not be able to commit to a yearlong program. Both models increase parent engagement and encourage parents and school officials to work together as a team.
While PPS-PC programs speak for themselves, their impact has been quite remarkable. In just a few short years, PPS-PC members have advocated to county commissioners for additional funding, influencing decisions that have added $650,000 to the public schools. Members have gained confidence, allowing them to seek leadership positions in their schools, on the board of education, and even at the county wide elected official level. In fact, the organization’s founder, Kathy Herring, has continued to remain so passionate about this mission, and has been so inspired as a leader, that she recently accepted the role of national board chair, leading the organization throughout the country.
In addition to parent leadership, thousands of individuals have had the opportunity to share their voices in community conversations, influencing results such as expanded open enrollment, standardized kindergarten staggered entry, increased safety measures, and better communication. This school year alone, over 350 family members and 50 community leaders have walked the hallways of Pitt County Schools, witnessing the amazing educational opportunities provided there each day. Seventy individuals call themselves graduates of the Parent Engagement Program, completing endeavors such as School-A Palooza in Farmville, school beautification projects, connections with local businesses, connections between agriculture and education, and an array of other opportunities.
PPS-PC prides itself on being an organization that is open to all citizens of Pitt County. There is no fee to become a member, and programs are open to everyone. To learn more, please visit the PPS-PC website at http://www.ppspittcounty.org, or the Parents for Public Schools of Pitt County FaceBook page. You can also email Kylene Dibble, our Executive Director, at firstname.lastname@example.org, or call our office at 252-758-1604 ext. 201.