Southwest Georgia education leaders say parental involvement is the key to a child's academic achievement. The Governor declared November Parent Engagement Month.
Some community advocates hope churches will do more to encourage parents to get involved. Educators say parental involvement could make or break a community.
The young minds filling Dougherty County classrooms could be the key to the community's success.
"When industry looks to relocate to any city, the first thing they actually look at is the educational system. If your education system I not on par, it makes it extremely difficult for businesses to make decisions about relocating to various areas," said Reverend Lawrence Knighton, of Operation Hope.
Reverend Lawrence Knighton has been working within the school system since 1998 to help children succeed. He says students have been falling through the cracks, especially those without father figures and family support.
"Sometimes the kids, all they see is women at home 'cause we have a lot of single parent families. And I think a lot of these schools, well not a lot, but a few of these other schools need some strong male presence in the schools at the helm."
He says strong administrator-student relationships are essential.
Educators are asking for a little help. "The biggest issue in the school district, and we heard this from over 20 superintendents last week at the legislative forum, is lack of parent involvement," said Dr. David Mosely, Interim Superintendent.
Knighton says the system's made improvements, but challenges are still ahead.
"We know parents care. But just very often, unfortunately, they're one parent families who have to work and they're tired when they get home and don't have the time they'd like to give to a child," said Mosely.
Some say the lack of family support leads to gang activity, which has created problems for some Dougherty County schools. And now organizations are hoping to get involved with the PTA To make some changes.
"Our plan is to try to get more pastors and churches involved," said Knighton.
The schools will continue reaching out to parents who ultimately hold the key to everyone's success. Knighton says the school board needs to select the right superintendent to make sure the system moves in the right direction and gets more parents involved.
The interim superintendent says the system is studying ways to improve parental involvement and will have an evaluation by the end of the school year.