Today's principals are community leaders...

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Read about the ways that one NAESP member engages her community to support and positively impact the lives of her students:

Yvonne T. McKitrick Elementary School, Lutz, Florida
Principal Lisa Yost

Every year, McKitrick Elementary holds a celebratory breakfast for members of the "110% Club." To join, a parent or community member must volunteer at least 110 hours a year at the school. Last year, nearly 40 people joined by tutoring, serving as chaperones, reading to classes, helping in the media center and performing a variety of other duties. Many of the club's members logged far more than 110 hours; overall, parents and community members have volunteered more than 20,000 hours a year.

Focus on Engagement
Lisa Yost, McKitrick's principal since the school opened in 2001, says parent involvement began even before the school opened its doors. Parents set up the furniture, chose the school colors, stacked books in the library and helped get the school ready to open. "We wanted to invite people in and make them part of their children's education," Yost says.

Creating Opportunities
To Yost, parent and community involvement is an essential ingredient in school success. "I strongly believe that when parents are involved with their children's education, children perform better, academically and socially," she says.

McKitrick also returns the favor by getting involved in the community. The school has a close relationship with the Tampa Players theater group, located across the street, and McKitrick has "adopted" a school from a disadvantaged area of the district.

The Payoffs
By opening its doors to parents and the community, McKitrick has built support for the school, Yost notes. When parents and community members visit the school, they see teachers who put in 110 percent as well. "They can have confidence sending their children here," she says. "It makes you the best school you can be.