Parents and educators are stepping out to support children and education. On Saturday, The Educational Leaders for Collaborative Change sponsored their first Unity Walk, Rally and Forum to involve parents in their children's education.
The group marched to their own beat, stepping off at the Savannah Civic Center, trying to get the 2005 school year off on the right foot. Students, parents, teachers walked together. Their message was simple: parents are vital to a student's success.
"Some students are self motivated. Others need that extra push to make sure they stay on top of things like go to school, and stay focused on what they want later on in life," explained 17 year old Stephanie Edwards.
Students and educators say parental involvement is the key to student education, one that will affect their entire educational career. Unity Walk Organizer, Dr. Patricia Harris believes staying focused on the children starts at home.
"The teachers are not the sole personnel for educating children. We have to go back home, we have to go into the house and get parents to be teachers also," she said.
The sentiment was echoed by many participants as they walked to the Board of Education building on Bull Street. They were greeted by the newest member of the Savannah Chatham School system, superintendent, Dr. Thomas Lockamy. Dr. Lockamy agreed the community's involvement will be a positive change to Savannah Chatham schools.
"We're talking about raising the bar of academic standards, eliminating truancy, eliminating the dropout rate," said Dr. Lockamy.
Students hope to see those problems change with their parents' support.
"You're not necessarily going to see higher grades, but you will see a change in attitude, we're going to be more upbeat. Without that support, kids tend to isolate themselves," said Helen Farmakis.
Stephanie Edwards agreed, "I hope to see better test scores."
Goals they plan to work toward, one step at a time.
WTOC was a proud sponsor of Saturday's event.