By Sydney Holtzclaw, Student Intern, CCBP
The Tuscaloosa Parent Leadership Academy (PLA), a partnership between the University of Alabama and city and county schools, will graduate its second class at a ceremony and dinner beginning at 5:30 p.m., May 5, 2009, in the Bryant Conference Center's Rast Room.
Featured speaker will be Dr. Tommy Bice, deputy state superintendent of education for instructional services. He is responsible for curriculum and instruction, assessment and accountability, federal programs, the Alabama Reading Initiative, the Alabama Math, Science, and Technology Initiative, and several other areas.
PLA is a two-semester program that strengthens relationships among family, schools and community. Participants meet monthly. Led by University of Alabama faculty and other educators, they develop leadership skills, improve their ability to support their child at home and at school, and establish better relations among family, school and board of education.
"Parents who graduate from PLA increase their knowledge of the entire education process, from classroom instruction and discipline to outside learning. They become contributing partners with local schools and school boards in their children's learning," said Christopher H. Spencer, associate director of the Center for Community-Based Partnerships, who was chief organizer for this year's PLA.
"Many of the graduates are already active in their schools and we expect others to join them because of their new experience," said Dr. Samory T. Pruitt, vice president for Community Affairs. "Through this academy, which approximates graduate-level instruction for lay persons, they are acquiring competencies and learning strategies that will make them better parents and a valued resource in helping their children and the schools they attend meet today's challenges."
This year's class was drawn from 10 elementary schools in the city system and 10 in the county system.
The graduation ceremony is the culmination of the 2008-09 academic year's program. Special speaker Bice, who joined the Alabama Department of Education in June 2008, is expected to stress the need for progress in math and science, as well as other school reforms.
Faculty in UA's Colleges of Education and Human Environmental Sciences, and various community organizations play key roles in the PLA. Dr. Joyce Levey is superintendent of city schools, and Dr. Frank Costanza is superintendent of county schools.
For more information contact Christopher H. Spencer at 205-348-7374 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
PLA 2008-2009 Graduates and Their Schools
FROM CITY SCHOOLS
Rajuan Sherman, Alberta Elementary
Marilou Baker and Aaron Kuntz, Arcadia Elementary
Audrey Wilson Cottrell and Jackie Lanier, Central Primary
Sharon Long, Martin Luther King, Jr., Elementary
Sharon Archibald and Emma Williams, Northington Elementary
Camille Page and Monique Petty, Oakdale Primary
Cindy Bramble and Jackie Kuehn, Rock Quarry Elementary
Tanika Bizzell and Tiffany Jenkins-Green, Skyland Elementary
Brenda Lewis and Sharon Smothers, University Place Elementary
Mary Hanks and Sabrina Sentell, Woodland Forrest Elementary
FROM COUNTY SCHOOLS
Rhonda Goins and Tanya Stark, Buhl Elementary
Allison Duncan and LaDonna Youngblood, Cottondale Elementary
Maribelle Magana, Crestmont Elementary
Phillip Booth and Errica Walker, Faucett-Vestavia Elementary
Betsy Williamson and Brandi Wolfe, Flatwoods Elementary
Nikki Anthony and Jamie Wright, Holt Elementary
Kelly Hayes, Lake View Elementary
Georgette Miniard and Tracie Thomas, Matthews Elementary
Shannon James and Paula Sisk, Maxwell Elementary
Angela Ashcraft and Angela Campo, Taylorville Elementary