, Salem, MA

Local News

February 7, 2013

Salem school program offers homework help — for parents

SALEM — On a cold night in January, the Bentley Elementary School held a graduation — but not for students.

Fourteen parents were honored for completing Making A Difference, a program to help adults assist their children with homework.

Mayor Kim Driscoll and Superintendent Stephen Russell attended, along with the graduates’ families. Several children were excited because they knew their mothers had been going to school just like they do.

Some of the same parents were also taking citizenship and English as a Second Language classes at Bentley. And they were getting homework assignments, just like their kids.

“We’d hear from parents who say, ‘We sit down together and do our homework together,’” said Gabrielle Montevecchi, the assistant principal at Bentley.

Since its state designation more than a year ago as a Level 4 school based on low scores on the statewide MCAS exams, Bentley has been working hard to improve. A major effort has been directed at parents, many of whom are poor or come from the Dominican Republic or other Spanish-speaking countries and, as a result, speak only limited English. In the past, many of those parents also had little interaction with the school.

Convinced that greater parental involvement in both school activities and academics is a key to turning around Bentley, Principal Renata McFarland has worked hard to get more parents to walk through the door.

Along with pancake breakfasts and pot-luck dinners, Bentley has been holding educational programs — none more novel than the homework class.

The idea came from the First Baptist Church, a small congregation on Lafayette Street that received a grant from the American Baptist Church to train adults in the community as homework mentors. The theory behind the program was that parental help at home has a lot to do with success at school.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Local News

AP Video
Obama: World Is Appalled by Murder of Journalist Israel, Militants Trade Fire After Talks Fail Pres. George W. Bush Takes Ice Bucket Challenge Pierce Brosnan's Call to Join the Expendables Changes Coming to No-Fly List Raw: IDF Footage Said to Show Airstrikes Police: Ferguson More Peaceful Raw: Aftermath of Airstrike in Gaza Raw: Thousands March on Pakistani Parliament Raw: World's Oldest Man Lives in Japan Fire Crews Tame Yosemite Fire Raw: Police Weapon Drawn Near Protesters, Media Raw: Explosions in Gaza As Airstrikes Resume Charter Schools Alter Post-Katrina Landscape Texas Gov. Perry: Indictment 'a Political Act' US Officials: Video Shows American's Beheading Video Shows Ferguson Cop Months Before Shooting Water Bottles Recalled for Safety Researcher Testing On-Field Concussion Scanners
Comments Tracker