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It's Back to School for 100 Parents


The new students were lining up to register at Foshay Middle School last week, and for many, it is their first time back to school in years.

"My daughter goes to school here so it just worked out perfect that I come here because I pick her up from school every day," said Deborah Pleasant, who was among the more than 100 parents who registered for adult classes Tuesday.

The free classes are part of Foshay's Family Center, which opened in January. The center offers basic math, literacy classes, English as a Second Language and Saturday workshops for families in South-Central.

"The center is where parents come to feel comfortable," said Principal Howard Lappin. "So far, the response indicates this is something they wanted. We didn't have to go out and pull them in."

Pleasant agreed with Lappin, adding that the practical orientation of the classes offered is what drew her to enroll.

"I've learned some great tips on money management," she said, referring to a one-day workshop she attended earlier this year. "They covered everything from insurance to bank accounts and they talked about making a budget for yourself. I found it to be very useful."

The classes and center are an outgrowth of what began last fall as informal meetings among parents, said Debra Laidley, director of the Family Center and an ESL teacher at Foshay. Parents and Lappin discussed ways to provide adult classes for area residents.

The center is operating out of two classrooms that were transformed into an office and classroom. The staff is composed of five parents who work part time and three adult-school teachers. The first year's $75,000 budget is part of a five-year state grant Foshay received, Lappin said. A portion of that money has been earmarked for increasing parent participation at Foshay, he said.

Laidley said the center's goal remains simple: educating parents translates into educating children.

"My goal is to have a community of lifelong learners here," she said. "When you have parents participate and saying education is important, that sends a very powerful message to their kids that education is important."

Information: (213) 735-0241, Ext. 232.

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