Creative thinking at Hillpoint

Published 10:10 pm Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Great schools are a combination of many different factors. Excellent teachers, top-notch curriculum, attentive and responsive faculty and accountable students are all necessary parts of the equation. And so are engaged parents.

Administrators at Hillpoint Elementary School understand the importance of engaged parents to the educational equation, and they’ve taken steps to help all of their parents become active participants in their children’s education. Those steps have earned the school recognition from the Virginia School Boards Association, which listed the school in its 18th annual Showcases for Success directory, which highlights successful K-12 programs.

Hillpoint draws students from the surrounding subdivisions, but it also gets children from some downtown areas, including low-income neighborhoods and public-housing complexes. Some parents in those communities, administrators realized, were having a hard time finding transportation to the school for PTA meetings and other important events intended to improve parental involvement in the school.

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To combat the problem, school administrators came up with the idea of holding outreach events within those communities. The first in a planned series of such events was held in December, when school officials held a luncheon at a neighborhood community center. They brought gift-wrapped books for parents to share with their children and took time to get to know the parents who attended. In some cases, parents had a chance to meet the school principal for the first time.

Hillpoint plans more outreach events in April and May. In April, the school will even register new kindergarten students. With the housing authority, Hillpoint has also started providing transportation for parents to attend parent-teacher association meetings and awards ceremonies.

Congratulations to the folks at Hillpoint for their well-deserved recognition. Their program to take the school into the community is just the sort of creative thinking that could benefit schools all around the commonwealth.