Contact Person: Angela Holloman
The FCPS Parent Resource Center (PRC), Department of Communications and Community Outreach (DCCO) provides parents, educators, and the community access to information, resources, and training related to the education of students with learning challenges, special needs, and disabilities. The program structure, content, and outreach are supported by the Virginia Department of Education (VDOE) guidebook and training for PRCs. In 1986, FCPS, with the support of the VDOE developed the FCPS Parent Resource Center program.
The purpose of the FCPS Parent Resource Center is to increase parental involvement in the education and educational decision-making for students with special needs. Research consistently supports the essential role that parents play in their child’s academic success. Parents are a child’s first and most important educators, and are “key partners” with schools in promoting academic achievement (DfEE 1997). The PRC is committed to providing a range of activities, trainings, resources and supports to help parents develop essential knowledge to understand, access, and participate in the education of their children; to help educators understand the critical role parental involvement and the home to school and school to home connections plays in the education of all students, especially those with special needs; and help community service providers and organizations connect with the families and students who need their services. Adger’s (2001) study indicated that activities designed to mobilize parental support/involvement of student’s education can positively influence:
- student attendance
- homework completion
- report card grades, test scores, and graduation rates
- leadership skills, motivation, and self-esteem
- course credits students pursue
- postsecondary educational plans
Three decades of research have demonstrated that parent/family involvement significantly contributes, in a variety of ways, to improve student outcomes related to learning and school success (Drake, 2000).The FCPS PRC uses a variety of methods to increase diverse parental involvement in their child’s education including:
- understanding the need to attend and participate in IEP team meetings
- learning how to help with homework at home
- learning about and understanding the process of parenting and educating students with special needs
- understanding how disabilities impact the education process
- learning about strategies and options to keep students engaged during breaks
- understanding the components of the special education process and how to work with the school
- understanding what activities make up parental involvement and encourage participation
The PRC plans and develops an annual education and outreach program designed to support collaboration between home/school and school/home to maximize success for students with special needs. This program teaches parents about their role and responsibility as academic partners with their child’s school. A broad base of research suggests that parental involvement is not only instrumental in promoting academic achievement but also in building relationships between schools and the local community (Brain & Reid 2003, Jeynes 2003). This program supports the development of positive parent/professional partnerships and community outreach by building awareness and encouraging collaboration and involvement in the educational decision-making for students. This program supports the skills parents need to work with school staff as an effective partner in the process of successfully educating children.
The PRC website http://www.fcps.edu/cco/prc/provides comprehensive information about the PRC program as well as news and upcoming events.
The FY 2013 budget for the FCPS Parent Resource Center is $0.3 million and includes 2.5 positions. Operating expenses of $7,750 includes funding for staff development, media resources, printing, equipment, supplies, and special projects. The part-time hourly fund of $18,194 includes one part-time hourly Parent Resource Center Liaison position. Medicaid provides grant funding of $43,060 for three part-time hourly Parent Resource Center Liaisons.