Mayflower Parent Center Coordinator Rhonda Smith wants to go above and beyond in making the center a helpful resource.

The center was created in the middle of last year in response to a state mandate that school districts must have a parental involvement plan, Smith said. It offers supplies, computers, information, tutoring, college prep and a homework hotline. Smith has a larger vision for the center as well.

The Parent Center serves as a place for parents and guardians to help fulfill educational goals for their children. They can access Edline, the school’s online grade book system, where they can view their child’s grades online. Students can also use the 10 computers at the center to access the Internet or the school’s server. From the school server, students can access their student folder to work on projects after hours.

Smith will have supplies for projects as well, based on what projects teachers are requiring. The parent center could be an easy place to stop by if a parent forgets to go by the store after work, she said. She also has materials for parents, such as ACT prep and financial aid information, a pamphlet explaining the laws of No Child Left Behind and tips on how to help students improve their organization and study habits. The parent center is open 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 7:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Friday. 

The center has a homework hotline from 3:30 to 7 p.m. Smith said sometimes, for example, a parent does not know how to help their child with math homework because teaching methods have changed since the parent learned math. The center has textbooks on hand and can walk the student through the homework, she said.

Teachers will tutor at the Parent Center three hours per night. One night, an elementary teacher will be available. Another night, a middle school teacher, and another night a high school teacher will be available, Smith said. Parents can call for a schedule, and the information will also be available on the Web site.

Beyond the basics, however, Smith plans to host sessions based on what parents are interested in. The center has a conference room, and she has been distributing parent interest surveys. Possible topics for sessions range from academic improvement plans, understanding Benchmark scores and testing, and family nutrition, to bullying, discipline at home, teenage pregnancy and drug and alcohol awareness.

Smith said she has passed out brochures about the Parent Center at open houses and has had a positive response, especially when parents learn the service is free.

"I say it’s free. It’s here for you. Parents want to be involved. They just need to be shown how to effectively use the resources available in our district," she said.

She is also tracking how the center is being used so she can make reports to the school board and discover ways to get more parents involved, Smith said.

"We want to come up with activities where parents are engaged in learning with the child," she said.

A link to the Mayflower Parent Center Web site is at www.mayflowerschools.info.