Alachua County parents will have easier access to Parent Academy training starting this month.
At the Duval Early Learning Academy Thursday night, Alachua County Public Schools’ Superintendent Owen Roberts introduced the first of four mobile classrooms in the district. The second will be available in April.
“The mobile academy is here and the dream has been realized,” Roberts said.
The mobile academy is a county-wide initiative, and the school district will partner with different organizations to provide training. The academy will introduce skills, such as parenting personal development skills in the workforce, General Education Development (GED), how to navigate the school system, mentoring programs and how to engage with their children through education.
“I think that for the community it is going to mean more opportunities,” said Natalie Strappy, the director of the Parent Academy. “We’re excited that they’re excited and that there is a light in everybody’s eye for the betterment of the community.”
The mobile classroom began renovations in October and is a $100,000 modern, state-of-the-art project. It has 16 monitors, air conditioning, Wi-Fi and a wheelchair ramp.
“It’s perfect. I feel like it’s accessible for all the parents and it’s helpful,” Shakira Thomas, a mother from Duval Early Learning Academy, said. “When I need help from teachers I can come up on the mobile bus and look it up [on the] computers.”
Roberts intends for the mobile classroom to impact rural areas in the county, like Waldo and High Springs.
“But we are not going to be able to get there right away because again it is a matter of our capacity,” he said. “[We are] seeking funding to be able to support the work of the Parent Academy.”