LEXINGTON, N.C. (WGHP) — Parents are heading back to the classroom in Lexington City Schools as part of the district’s Jacket Parent Academy to help students succeed.

Students in Lexington are dealing with learning loss because of the pandemic like many children across the country. The Jacket Parent Academy is working to bring students back up to speed by getting parents and the community involved in their education.

“It’s one of the best things I think I would’ve done,” said Brittiny Olds, who has a first-grader at Pickett Elementary. “I wish…more schools would do it.”

Olds and her family moved to Lexington about a year ago when students were switching between in-person and online learning.

“With COVID, it was hard because some of the kids were online, so we didn’t actually get to have contact,” she said.

Since Olds is new to the area, she wanted a way to get involved in her child’s schooling. She joined the Jacket Parent Academy.

“I think it is a great way to have your voice heard as a parent with what’s going on with your children,” Olds said.

Coordinators started the program in January. They offer monthly sessions, discussing topics like coping with COVID, parenting tips and financial literacy.

“Whatever our parents learn and take it home, it’s going to ultimately help their child in their overall academic world,” said Dr. Kasey Wilkie, community engagement coordinator for the district.

Wilkie believes when parents are involved, students succeed.

“Children are better behaved. Their grades are better. They have better social skills,” she said.

Eight parents will graduate from the academy in May, meaning they attended all sessions. More than 50 other parents have gone to at least one.

“I’m hoping that our parents will be our word of mouth as well to let people know how this program, how this initiative has really helped them as well to get others to come on and get involved,” Wilkie said.

Coordinators are looking to recruit the next round of parents to enroll. That session will run from August to May.