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Graham Middle School builds ties to the community

GRAHAM, N.C. -- Instead of spending their teacher workday in classroom meetings, the staff at Graham Middle School is meeting the community.

"We are trying to bring that partnership between the community and the school," said Graham Middle School Principal Lee Williams. "We promised we were coming back, 'tis the season we are coming back to the community."

Williams is in his first year as principal at Graham Middle School. One of his goals is to increase parental and community involvement. In the summer before school started, the staff visited the neighborhoods around the school. Now administrators and teachers are back. They are handing out goodie bags and gift cards. Williams hope the presents will bring volunteers to the school.

"It's not going to be a one year deal. It’s a continual process and we will see it grow,” Williams said.

Evelyn Rogers is an eighth-grade teacher at Graham Middle. She feels getting the community or parents involved at school is critical to student development.

"Education has three parts, parent, teacher and child. We want to make sure we have all of the pieces available to us so we can teach the whole child not just a part of the child,” Rogers said.

Plus, meeting community members and parents away from the formal school environment gives teachers like Rogers a better chance to know the families.

“Especially the ones in fourth and fifth grade. You are talking to your potential eighth-grade teacher so they were able to make that connection with me as a person,” Rogers said.

Along with gift cards, Graham Middle School students decorated the bags and placed thank you notes in each bag.