LIMA — A Lima councilman met with several teachers at Liberty Arts Magnet in Lima to discuss concerns of school district parents Tuesday.
After the Lima City School District received sub-par marks on the state report card earlier this year, councilman Derry Glenn scheduled the meetings to see where concerns may lie and what can be done to improve the educational experience in the district. Glenn held a meeting with parents in the school district in November and was meeting with the teachers to relay what he had heard. About 20 teachers attended the session.
“The most common problems discussed by the parents were communication with the teachers,” Glenn said. “A lot of mothers said they had problems helping with homework and kids not bringing books home. They also said they commonly had problems with scheduling times to meet with teachers.”
Glenn also said that many parents said motivation seemed to be a problem and asked teachers to help.
“These kids need motivated in more than baseball, football, basketball and track,” Glenn said. “I understand your reaction but we are going to have to give 50-50 to fix this problem. I know teachers already have plenty to do.”
Glenn conceded it will be no easy fix. He reported that 65 percent of the children in the school district come from single-parent families.
“When you are 12 years old and being head of the household while mom is at work,” Glenn said, “you are not getting your homework done. Some of these kids are in a tough housing situation.”
Glenn said he understood poverty played a big factor into the district's performance, and that many children were shy about their poverty level. When he discussed communication with parents, one teacher expressed that the district can provide parents with all the information they are looking for.
“It is as simple as taking the time to register,” she said. “They can receive text and see grades, and see if there is homework or other assignments.”
Superintendent Jill Ackerman said that practice is now a districtwide policy. She added that she thought more programs to educate parents may help.
“I think we need programs for the parents and show them what they can do to help,” Ackerman said.
Ackerman added that a recently started reading program allowing for a 3-to-1 student-teacher ratio is looking promising. Ackerman gave Glenn kudos for starting dialogue between parents and teachers.
“If we do not have parental support, we have nothing,” Ackerman said.
Glenn said other meetings would be scheduled in the future to continue the dialogue.