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Make the Grade

March 29, 2019

By Tim Kelly

DOC Communications

(Tim Kelly, DOC Communications)

Parental involvement in education is critical and can be linked to student achievement. Thanks to parent-teacher conferences, incarcerated parents are still able to play a role in their child’s education. These teleconferences provide a unique opportunity for incarcerated parents to discuss issues and opportunities with the teacher and to be supportive of their child’s growth.

Supporting the bond between parents and their children can be impactful. “It actually opens up the door to know exactly what the kids are experiencing in school. People that are in prison have a say about what happens, even up to the point of having an individualized education plan,” says Family Services Specialist Mike Eby.

The agency’s partnership with the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction to offer parent-teacher conferences helps the department in its mission to improve public safety by supporting people’s ability to grow and change. These conferences also help encourage positive interactions with the community.

Parents are able to have two teleconference opportunities during the school year – one in the fall and another in the spring. In the first semester of the 2018-2019 school year, there were 41 completed conferences, which represented an increase in the number of teleconferences from the previous school year. Incarcerated parent Nicole Alexander understands the importance of these conferences.

“Everything that a normal parent gets when you get to go to a normal parent-teacher conference and then come home and be like, so this is what we are gonna work on, a little more homework time, and it just helps her to feel like a normal child because I’m there also,” Alexander said.