Awareness Fair shows parents more opportunities

Published 9:40pm Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Parents filled the convention center Wednesday in pursuit of finding out what programs in Dallas County Schools and other agencies can offer their children.

This event, “Parent Awareness Fair,” hosted programs ranging in mental health and child development, to school improvement and education. Dr. Sharon Streeter, special education director for Dallas County Schools, said it was important that parents attend the fair because “the more knowledge these parents have, the better they can help their children.”

“What we’re trying to do is get the parents more involved by giving them awareness of the various agencies and also what we’re doing within the Dallas County School District,” Streeter explained.

Cahaba Mental Health, Vaughan Community Health Services, Central Alabama Child Development and Dallas County Schools Health Services, were just a few of the agencies and programs represented at the fair.

“We want to inform parents of what we’re doing and I thought this was just a great way to get parents out and to inform them about what we’re doing within our departments as well as what the other agencies offer,” Streeter said.

Kathy Jackson, parent of two Dallas County students, said she came to the fair for many reasons, but the main one being to simply gain more information about the different programs offered within Dallas County.

“Parents need to know about what’s available to them,” Jackson said. “I’m hoping to learn more about safety in schools.”

The event was free and boasted several parents — even grandparents.

M. Flanagan Brown, principal of Salem Elementary, said she was attending the fair not as a principal, but as a grandparent who wanted to gain more information on how to assist her grandchildren who are currently enrolled in Dallas County Schools.

“This is great,” Brown said. “Everyone should take advantage of this.”

After Superintendent of Dallas County Schools Dr. Fannie McKenzie welcomed parents, Hattie Shelton, assistant superintendent, spoke on the importance of parent involvement.

“All of these programs and agencies provide great tools for parents, and we just hope they know about them and take advantage of them,” Streeter said.

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