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DECA Prep Five-Year Study To Focus On Parent Involvement


Officials with Dayton Early College Academy Prep hope to secure state funding to start a five-year pilot program that studies the link between parental involvement and student achievement. DECA Prep Superintendent Judy Hennessey says the focus will be on kids in kindergarten through third grade. She says that’s the time when students could fall behind if they aren’t receiving enough support at home.

“Learning to read is really rocket science. It is very difficult,” Hennessey said. “And while it is a natural thing, as a part of going to school, for many children when they come to school not ready for that formal instruction they never feel like they’re on the same page as their classmates.”

Hennessey calls a lot of the current efforts by schools, including DECA Prep, only Band-Aids for a much larger issue. Dayton Public School Superintendent Lori Ward submitted a letter of support for the project. DPS has been exploring more ways to engage both parents and community members with the district’s troubled schools.

Hennessey says the project will accommodate parent schedules as best as possible, but points out the focus should be more on the student.

“If we are really serious about children stepping up and mastering grade appropriate goals, then we have to start to say kids come first. Turn off the TVs. Put away the electronic games. We have to sit down and actually practice reading,” she said.

The school will partner with the University of Cincinnati and begin in the 2016-2017 school year if the money is approved. State Sen. Peggy Lehner introduced the amendment to the state budget lawmakers are considering now and calls the project potentially “groundbreaking.”

The $100,000 each year will be used to fund research and hire a new employee. The findings will be shared with schools locally and statewide.