Thursday, Feb. 7, 2008

Kingsford parents attend school for day

More than 220 mothers, fathers participated in third annual event

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Brenda Ahearn⁄The Gazette
Kimberly and Carl Cooper of Upper Marlboro attend the workshop on transitioning students into middle school at Kingsford Elementary. The Jan. 31 workshop was part of Bring Your Parents to School Day.
Kingsford Elementary School parents Kimberly and Carl Cooper were back in school Jan. 30 attending class and taking notes, just like their sixth-grade daughter Clarke at the Mitchellville school’s third annual Bring Your Parents to School Day.

Kimberly and Carl listened intently as Catherine Booker, a visiting guidance counselor from Ernest Everett Just Middle School, conducted a workshop on ‘‘Transitioning from Elementary to Middle School.”

They were among more than 220 parents of Kingsford students who packed the school’s parking lot and attended workshops, met with teachers, perused the wares of local vendors and ate lunch with their children from 7:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the school.

‘‘We just thought it was a great idea to be here and be a part of the school community and show our support for our daughter and her teachers,” said Kimberly Cooper.

Darrin Brown, a member of the school PTA’s Education Committee, said parents day is an attempt to get more parents involved in the school.

He said parents come out in high numbers for Bring Your Parents to School Day and Back to School Night, but are too often not involved throughout the rest of the year.

‘‘Parent involvement is how education is most successful,” Brown said. ‘‘We’re trying to get all our parents to join the PTA and volunteer. We want them all to be more active in their child’s life.”

PTA President Yolanda Akinrimisi said greater parental involvement would serve the school well.

‘‘With a school of this size, we really need to have more parents coming out and volunteering,” she said. ‘‘We need for parents to understand that when they’re more involved, [statistics] go up, test scores go up, attendance goes up.”

The school’s current enrollment is 699 students.

Karen McDowell, a parent with a son in kindergarten, was browsing some of the exhibits set up by local vendors in the school’s cafeteria.

‘‘I wanted to find out some information for my son,” she said. ‘‘I want to be here so I can encourage him and prepare him for his future grades.”

Some of the local vendors on hand were Lessons From Abroad, a Largo-based educational organization specializing in on-site language programs, Sylvan Learning Center, a Lanham-based tutoring service, A+ Tae Kwon Do, Inc., a Mitchellville-based martial arts studio and The Enrichment Centers, Inc., a Bethesda-based tutoring and mentoring service.

Kimberly Cooper said the workshop she attended was informative and beneficial.

‘‘Being a new parent of a child going into middle school, it was good hearing what I need to do to get my daughter ready,” Kimberly Cooper said.

Some of the other workshops parents could attend were ‘‘Promoting Science in the Home,” ‘‘Immunization for Children,” ‘‘Optimizing Your Library Visit,” ‘‘Tools and Strategies for Early Literacy,” ‘‘Making Math Meaningful and Fun” and ‘‘Improving Writing Skills.”

E-mail Jonathan Stein at