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Georgia Department of Education introduces I CAN Play a Role Campaign at Parent Engagement Month Kickoff Celebration

MEDIA CONTACT: Matt Cardoza, GaDOE Communications Office, (404) 651-7358,

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October 20, 2014 – First Lady of Georgia Sandra Deal and State School Superintendent Dr. John Barge announced the I CAN Play a Role Campaign, an engaging way for parents and stakeholders to come together around the common purpose of improving student achievement, during a kickoff event Monday,Oct.20 at the State Capitol. The campaign will run through the month of November, which is Parent Engagement Month in Georgia.


Through the campaign, parents are asked to choose from 15 different I CAN Play a Role pledge cards, which provide them with concrete ways to get involved in their child’s education. The state’s goal is to receive 50,000 parent pledge cards to impact family engagement and student achievement in Georgia.


Parent engagement is a priority for the Georgia Department of Education, and a key part of its work with Title I schools. For more information on those efforts, parents can visit link.


“Parent engagement is the key to success for our youth. We want parents and caregivers to have their own conversations about how to keep their families strong. Whether we engage them in recovery treatment, prevention activities, or education, our communities that utilize parental involvement have stronger outcomes for children,” Mrs. Deal said. “Parent engagement is not just beneficial for individual families; it also affects our communities. Schools depend on the support of parents for the needs of the classroom, the community environment and the successful education of its students. Similarly, Georgia’s workforce depends on students who obtain the best education possible.  Parent engagement plays an integral role in a child’s future. Parents serve as role models who help children to dream of who they would like to be. the more educated and skilled children become, the more opportunity they have to impact their future. Georgia’s schools produce the state’s workforce; and the better prepared our students are for jobs, the greater their impact will be on the future of our state.”


“The research is clear on this point: when families and communities come together to support their schools, students achieve at higher levels,” State Superintendent Dr. John Barge said. “Engaged parents can make the difference between a school that’s barely getting by and a school that’s thriving. I encourage all parents to make this pledge to be involved in their child’s education, and I thank them in advance for doing so. The support of engaged families is an absolute necessity in the work we do – we cannot succeed without them.”


Parents who are engaged and empowered to become actively involved in their children’s education are a crucial part of a school that is functioning properly. Parents, schools, families, and communities working together can create meaningful partnerships that ultimately lead to significant gains in student achievement, across the board.


I CAN Play a Role pledge cards will be distributed by Title I schools, and they are available online at this link. Resources for parents interested in increasing their involvement, and for schools working to increase parent engagement, are available at this link. Learn more about the Georgia Department of Education’s Parent Engagement Program at this link.


Here’s what other speakers at the Parent Engagement Month Kickoff Celebration had to say:


Rita Erves, 2013-2015 President – Georgia PTA: “We have all heard it said a thousand or more times in a thousand or more different ways.  The bottom line is that there is only ONE formula that results in student achievement and success:  family + school partnerships.  The winner in this simple equation is without exception, every child.  The Georgia Parent Teacher Association (“GA PTA”) recognizes the powerful role that parents play in this partnership.  For the fourth consecutive year, we are pleased to collaborate with the Georgia Department of Education to utilize the newly-revised Georgia Parent Leadership Awards.  We will acknowledge parents  from around the state who have made significant contributions to this amazing formula.”


Amy M. Jacobs, Interim Commissioner of the Georgia Department of Early Care and Learning:  "The Department of Early Care and Learning is honored and excited to join with the First Lady, the Georgia Department of Education, and the other sponsors of the I Can Play a Role campaign to impact family engagement and student achievement across our state. Children begin learning from the moment they are born. As their children’s first teachers, families play a critical role in supporting learning at home and at school." 


Gaye Smith, Executive Director – Georgia Family Connection Partnership: “School systems alone cannot be solely responsible for educating our children. It takes a community effort to achieve the results we want for all our children. Partnerships between community organizations that connect resources to support schools in overcoming barriers to student access are essential, as well as reinforcing a year-round learning process, including afterschool hours, holidays, and summers when students are not in the classroom. That is one of the roles Georgia Family Connection county Collaboratives play – connecting communities to schools.”


Deborah Rogers, State School Superintendent’s Parent Advisory Council: “I am so happy to be part of such a worthy endeavor of challenging parents across Georgia to become engaged with their children, which will only lead to success in school. As a parent we all must remember that education starts at home and getting involved, being involved, and staying involved are all ways that parents can ensure the success of their children’s educational paths.”


After the kick-off event, attendees had the opportunity to visit with state partner organizations that play a key role in engaging families:


·         Communities In Schools of Georgia

·         Georgia Department of Education

·         Georgia Department of Early Care and Learning

·         Georgia Family Connection Partnership

·         Georgia PTA

·         Parent to Parent of Georgia

·         United Way of Greater Atlanta​​