ESCAMBIA COUNTY PUBLIC SCHOOLS FOUNDATION FOR EXCELLENCE, INC.
PARENT UNIVERSITY: BRIDGING RESOURCES AND COMMUNITY NEEDS
Grant Year: 2022 | Focus Area: Family| Grant Amount: $103,820 | Grant Status: In Progress
The Escambia County Public Schools Foundation was established in 1986 and is recognized as the district-wide education foundation for public schools in Escambia County. Its mission is to enhance education by investing in children’s futures to ensure they graduate on time and are college or career ready. The Foundation works collaboratively with school leaders to determine how and where private-sector investment and volunteer involvement can have the greatest impact on student success. Since its inception, the Foundation has distributed more than $12.5 million in donated, raised, and grant funds. As a member of the Consortium of Florida Education Foundations, it is part of a collegial community committed to building partnerships, innovating leading practices, and impacting students coast to coast. Events to support and honor teachers and students include Grants for Excellence, Golden Apple Awards, and Academic and Mira Awards. The Foundation is the lead agency for Take Stock in Children, an innovative program that provides college scholarships, mentors, and hope to deserving, financially eligible youth. Since 1996, 375 college scholarships have been awarded to Escambia County students through this program.
OVERVIEW OF THE PROPOSED PROJECT
Parent University provides hands-on lessons and resources for parents to become more engaged in their children’s education. Education, services, and resources are based on the choice and requests of parents, and the skills learned not only help them with their children but also employment, money management, and healthier lifestyle choices. The target population is parents of children enrolled in the Escambia County Public School System. Of the approximate 37,000 students, 53% are from low-income families with resource constraints. During the 2021-2022 school year, the Parent University program reached 1,000 parents through 10 events annually. The IMPACT 100 grant will fund the expansion of Parent University in Escambia County by approximately 30%. Funds will pay for a 3-event expansion in the 2022-2023 school year, with the cost for each event averaging $34,150. Events are held at schools or community centers. Grant funds would cover session preparation, session leadership, instructor training, childcare, registration/data management, videographer, custodial, security, participant meals, participant transportation, class supplies, and Parent University team travel expenses.
EXPECTED IMPACT ON THE COMMUNITY
Many issues plaguing our community are rooted in poverty: vandalism, crime, drug use, unemployment, homelessness, hunger, and many more. Education is a pathway out of poverty. Parent University helps those who need this assistance most but who have often had negative experiences in school settings and are uncomfortable engaging with the school system. Parent University will provide services, support, guidance, and nurturing to ensure family success overall. Escambia County was ranked as one of the most economically depressed areas for school resources when considering community engagement, income, and poverty. A three-year study from Georgia Southern University of Parent University’s success in Savannah, Georgia, indicates that increased parent involvement can and does shift these metrics positively for students and their communities. Parent University will create, expand, and strengthen bridges between public schools in Escambia County and their community by empowering parents and caregivers to teach each other. Informed parents and caregivers will work together for greater student success resulting in reduced poverty, crime, and positive social change.