Program will pay parents to volunteer in classroom

SEATTLE -- Parents who want to play a larger role in their child's education could soon be given a financial incentive to volunteer in the classroom.

A new pilot project starting at Dearborn Park International School in south Seattle is designed to train up to 20 moms and dads to become classroom aides. The focus is on literacy and will start in kindergarten through third grade, where English is not the primary language.

After 100 hours of volunteer work, the parent would receive a $500-to-$600 stipend.

"They are doing the tutoring anyway, so why not reward m for what they're doing and the impact on the school community?" said Angela Sheffey Bogan, principal at Dearborn Park.

The local parent organization in the neighborhood, Community & Parents for Public Schools, received grants to pay for the program which is modeled after a system that started in Chicago. The program in the city's Logan Square Neighborhood has now expanded to more than 50 schools throughout Illinois.

Sheffey Bogan says it's a way to help overloaded teachers too.

"You may have three or four adults in the classroom now," she said. "So students may be in small groups of maybe three children for one adult, which is an incredible education experience for every child."

The Seattle Public Schools are planning to test the program for possible expansion to other schools with high populations of immigrant families.


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