Blytheville HS Sets State First

August 18, 2003 - Posted at: 9:33 p.m. CDT

BLYTHEVILLE, Ark. -- On the first day of school, Blytheville High School set a first for high schools statewide.

On Monday, students at Blytheville High School had their notebooks, pencils and one other thing: their parents, as the school's staff hosted "First Things First," a program designed in order to get parents more involved in their children's education.

"As kids get older, they really don't want their parents involved in anything they do and they know that's probably one of the most important times," said Blytheville principal Tommy Coleman.

While students may not like the idea of bringing their parents to school, one father was supportive.

"I think it's an excellent idea," said John Hughes. "It gives us a chance to talk to teachers and see what classes we're going to have before October."

"Parents have not been involved in the past and we really want them to get involved," Coleman said. "For years we were just at a loss of what to do."

If Monday's turnout of 1,800 parents is any indication, Coleman's program is off to a good start.

The plan for school officials is to focus on academics, raising test scores, improving attendance and lowering the drop out rate. Educators say meeting parents on Day One helps to have a brighter outlook for the school year.

"We know now that we have got parental support," said teacher Tobey Johnson. "They know now the expectations and later on there won't be any questions."