Louisiana Dept. of Education launching initiative to reward parents for school engagement

Published: Oct. 27, 2021 at 3:09 PM CDT
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BOSSIER PARISH, La. (KSLA) - The Louisiana Department of Education is launching a new initiative called “Be Engaged.”

It’s an idea the department started to reward parents who actively participate in their child’s learning. School leaders here in the ArkLaTex claim family engagement is key to a child’s success.

Title I Supervisor for the Bossier Parish School System Willie Blackshire is encouraging parents to download the app.

”We need more parents involved, especially for our struggling students and many of our parents are working. This is sort of a motivator to catch their attention,” she said.

This is how it will work: if you attend a parent-teacher conference then you will log in on an app called PimsPoints. In exchange, you get coupons from some of your favorite restaurants.

Several schools in Mississippi, North Carolina and Tennessee are using this method already. Louisiana Association of School Superintendents Executive Director Michael Faulk believes this will have a mixed bag of results.

”The parents that want to be engaged are already in engaged. The parents that rely on technology and the communication, or communication from the teachers, feel that it’s enough,” he said.

Faulk said it’s a known fact that parental participation decrease as children grow older.

“Districts have always done things to spur parental involvement and engagement and I think what you find out happens is that in the lower grades, kindergarten through about 4th grade, the parental involvement is pretty high. And when you get to middle school, it begins to back off a little bit,” he said.

This year alone students are battling against COVID-19, low test scores and violence in schools. Results shown for the LEAP 2025 scores say in the last three years, there has been a five percent decrease in students who score mastery or above.

Blackshire calls this initiative a stepping stone.

”I don’t think it will be a panacea for the problems that we are having. I think the more parents get involved, they will see the need for other programs,” she said.

The initiative will kick off on Nov. 15.

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