HEFLIN — Elvis was in the building ... at Cleburne County Middle School Thursday night, to help orchestrate the annual Title I parent and community engagement session.
Title I provides funding to schools with students at risk of failure and living at or near poverty according to the Jennifer Swafford, the school’s counselor.
Swafford said the amount of money the school gets from the U.S. Department of Education is based on the number of students who get free or reduced lunch at school.
Swafford said the money allows students to have an even playing field no matter their economic status with regard to access to technology that some may not have at their homes.
“If their parents do not have internet or they don’t have a computer at home we make sure it’s available here for them,” Swafford said.
Another benefit of receiving Title I funds according to Swafford is lowering the classroom student-to-teacher ratio, “to make sure we can really individualize education for every student.”
Swafford said the parents get to decide on one percent of the total budget of what is spent on the students.
The session Thursday provided Title I information to the parents, but mostly it was about fun. A 1950s theme was chosen this year to entertain the kids and their parents which included a classic car show, root beer floats, a hula hoop contest and an Elvis impersonator wearing an oversized hot pink jacket.
Parents also had the option of participating in a “drive for your school” fundraiser sponsored by Buster Miles Ford.
Swafford said that Ford is going to donate $20 to the school for each person who test-drove one of the dealership’s automobiles which were lined up in front of the school.
Students wore their Dominate Your Lane T-shirts which convey the idea that everyone has a lane on the road to success according to Swafford.
In the school’s gym Elvis emceed a twist contest, a “name that song” contest, an Elvis trivia contest and a hula hoop contest. Lucky winners got to choose from an array of prizes.
The school’s principal, Todd Chandler, said every parent was given an information sheet about Title I when they entered the school Thursday.
“We want parents here, we want their involvement because if they don’t advocate for the children nobody will,” Chandler said.
Chandler was glad that Elvis was able to entertain the parents and kids.
“We went to Graceland and they said he went home to Jupiter and we sent somebody up there to get him,” Chandler said with a grin.