Montrose school will offer help to parents

Northside Elementary School third-grade teacher Jaime Simo teaches an arithmetic lesson Thursday morning. Simo received the Montrose Education Foundation Impact Award for her efforts in creating a resource room for parents, where they can talk to teachers, receive household items, register for food aid and even do laundry.

MONTROSE — Northside Elementary School next month will celebrate renovation of one of its classrooms into the school district’s first resource room for parents.

The room will give parents the ability to check student grades and attendance, communicate with teachers and receive essential household items they cannot normally afford, Northside Principal Cara Godbe said.

Doors are slated to open about the time of parent-teacher conferences on Oct. 19. The resource room will give parents a place to do laundry, register for free food items and learn a second language using new computer software.

Nearly 80 percent of students at Northside receive free or reduced-price school meals. Godbe said the Montrose County School District monitors these numbers to help determine the number of families in need.

“We wanted to try to take away some barriers that keep them from school,” Godbe said.

Northside third-grade teacher Jaime Simo, the district’s 2010 elementary school teacher of the year, saw some of the families in need and rallied fellow staff members to organize a plan to help them.

“I can’t take all the credit, but being here four years and the culture we have built with the staff and the students and parents, it’s something as a staff we have said, ‘If we only had a place.’ If we had a place with a washer and dryer, if we had that place where parents could come in and get the items and resources they need at that time,” Simo said.

Simo submitted a plan this summer, and during the school district meeting on Sept. 13 she was awarded the Montrose Education Foundation Impact Award, receiving $10,000 to construct the room.

Simo said the room will have a children’s area and an adult reading center with parenting books and a message board where parents can volunteer to help in the classroom.

Each computer will have access to Rosetta Stone language software for parents to use to learn either Spanish or English.

The hours of the room will be 7:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Monday through Friday, and only parents of Northside students can attend.

Godbe said her office hosts coffee with parents each Monday morning at 8 a.m., and parents with ideas or needs are welcome to attend.

The school’s resource room will join the Northside Child Care Clinic, a facility created five years ago to offer pediatric care and family outreach programs, as a way to help families in need.

“We want the kids to reach their highest potential, and so they need to be healthy and have food and clothing and have those basic needs. It’s hard to learn when you’re hungry,” Godbe said.

Parents with questions are asked to call the school at 249-2554.


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