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Project Background

Robert Burns Elementary/Middle School is a West-side Inner City Detroit Public School with a student population of 750. 94% of the students attending Burns Elementary/Middle receive free lunch, placing Burns as an economically disadvantaged federally funded school. Robert Burns is a Community school and most of its students walk to the school. Also, most of the students receive the benefit of Title One assistance in the form of free lunch and special programs to further assist in the learning process.

Parents are their child’s first and most important teacher. Decades of research shows that when parents are involved, student achievement increases significantly. The recent census reported that there is a direct relationship between level of education and income levels. Overall, individuals with a high school diploma earn more money than individuals who dropped out of school. Individuals with a college degree have a higher salary than individuals with a high school diploma. Education is important for building stronger families and better communities. Education helps to break the cycle of poverty and improve the quality of life. Education gives people more life options.

Parents can play an important role in helping their children succeed in school and in life.

Project Brief

From past experience, the school has found that many parents don't know what to do or how to help their children as "first teachers". The school will conduct three workshops called "The Teacher in Me" to provide parents with materials and training that will teach them necessary models to become more effective parents/first teachers. All parents will be invited to attend the workshop, However, students who are facing academic challenges from Grades PK-3 will be given first choice to attend.

During the workshop sessions, parents will be given six hours of instruction on how to work most effectively as their child's "first teacher". Parents will also receive an educational package to work with their children at home. This package will provide parents with the "teaching at home" materials appropriate for their child's age/grade level. The workshop will also provide parents with a monthly learning package until the end of the school year. Included in these sessions will be both the counselor and social worker. The theme of the workshop will include working on "the whole child" and addressing the social needs of each student, nurturing and positive discipline.

Impact of the Organization/Project

The workshops will encourage parents to get more involved with their children's education. This should lead to improvement in their test scores as well as attendance rates. These metrics will be monitored after the workshops to gauge their impact.

For more information about Robert Burns Elementary/Middle School please visit

Recommending Action Center: Detroit Action Center

Grant Amount for 2009: $1860