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MES Strengthening Families Program recognizes parents

Students and siblings (l-r) Justice Powell, first grade; Mariya Powell, second grade; and Brianna Butler, third grade, smile for the camera at the completion ceremony for the Strengthening Families Program. SOURCE SUBMITTED
December 14, 2013

In November, Milton Elementary School held a completion ceremony for 11 MES parents who participated in the Strengthening Families Program.

This program is funded through the federal 21st Century Community Learning Center Grant and is a unique collaboration between the school and Children & Families First. SFP is an extension of the school’s after-school program, FAME, and includes a family literacy skills component.

The goal of the program is to work with children and families on a preventative basis through education and early intervention, thereby increasing their academic and behavioral success in the long run.

The program is a series of six weekly sessions using an evidenced-based parenting curriculum. It provides dinner, transportation, and child care for younger children to promote parent attendance.

There are three components to the program: parenting skills, children’s skills, and family skills. The program teaches parents fundamental principles of effective behavior management, communication skills, and stress management. Children learn skills to understand their emotions and develop problem-solving skills. In the final component of each session, parents come together with the children to practice the skills they have each learned in their respective groups.

Shay Eli, the school's reading specialist, attended the dinner portion several times to hand out children’s books and speak to parents to promote reading skills and support quality family learning time.

Principal Kevin Mumford said to date, the program has graduated nearly 35 MES families, and they are in the last year of the five-year 21st CCLC grant. The school hopes to renew the grant so it can continue to help many more MES parents and children. “We are proud of each and every one of our parents. Each parent who attends and participates shows how committed they are to ensuring the academic and social success of their child,” said Mumford.

MES will be holding another six-week program in February, and fliers will be sent home with students.