McDowell County administrators work to make dreams reality for students

Digital Desk

WELCH, WV (WVNS) — Administrators at the McDowell County Board of Education are pairing up with parents for their children’s education. Kristen Dudleson is a stay-at-home mom who has two children attending Welch Elementary School and said both of them have a lot of dreams they want to achieve.

“We ask them all the time about what they want to be and we let them know that they can be whatever they want to be, that they chase their dreams and they just tell me different things all the time about what they would like to be,” Dudleson said.

To ensure her kids achieve all those dreams, they need to get through school successfully beforehand. That is why Kristen participates in a home visiting program started up by the school system a few years ago. Talia French is a kindergarten teacher at Welch Elementary who participates as well. She said it really helps her get to know her kids.

“The home visiting project is where we get to go out into the community and hang out with the families in their homes and we get to see their day to day life and talk to parents about their kids and see them in their environment,” French said.

Parents, kids, and teachers meet together once in a while to envision what the kid has the ability to do after graduating high school.

“We just talk about our hopes and dreams for their child, what they want them to accomplish after high school. We really get to know what they want for their child,” French said.

After that, they set goals. Some of these goals may be small, but they exist to get the student to where they want to be in coming years. It also personally connects teachers to parents, something Dudleson said she wishes she had while she was going a kid going through school in Welch herself. 

“We didn’t get teachers to come to our house. Which it’s really nice nowadays. I really wish we would’ve got to get to know our teachers. We would’ve gotten more comfortable with them and our parents would’ve gotten to know them, so it’s a really good thing to do,” Dudleson said.

French said she thinks every teacher should start interacting more with their students and parents outside of the classroom. She said it creates a personal bond and her students who do know her outside of school no longer view her as just a teacher, but someone to rely on.

“It builds better relationships where people are really working with the school and it’s a community effort to really give the kids what they need,” French said.

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