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GBBF President Theresa Carl Accompanies First Lady on Dyersburg Primary School's Summer Bus Tour

Wednesday, July 25, 2012 | 10:02am

Event Designed to Encourage Parental Involvement in Children's Education

NASHVILLE, July 24, 2012 – Governor’s Books from Birth Foundation (GBBF) President Theresa Carl joined First Lady Crissy Haslam today for Dyersburg Primary School’s first Summer Bus Tour, an event designed to encourage increased parental involvement in the school. Mrs. Haslam, Ms. Carl and more than 75 Dyersburg Primary School teachers and faculty traveled throughout the community – making stops at local recreation centers, parks, churches and businesses – to visit with Dyersburg children and families. The purpose of these community visits was to help build positive relationships between parent, child and school, encouraging parents to be involved in their child’s education from the first day of school.

“Children spend 70% of their time outside of the school building, so parental involvement is essential for a child’s academic success,” said Mrs. Haslam. “Study after study has shown us that student achievement significantly improves when there is a strong school-family partnership. Visiting with children and families in their own neighborhoods before the school year begins is an excellent way to build partnerships and good rapport early.”

Mrs. Haslam and Ms. Carl joined Dyersburg Primary School teachers and faculty for stops at Bruce Recreation Center, Bruce Swimming Pool, Dyersburg Activity Center, and Tucker Street Church, where they passed out packets with information about how parents can become more involved in their child’s education – including instructions for how to register preschool children under age five for Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library program.

Mrs. Haslam emphasized the idea that everyone in the community benefits when families and schools work together.

“When I say parental involvement, I mean it in a way that conveys the family plays an essential role in their child’s education,” said Mrs. Haslam. “It means attending parent-teacher conferences, being aware of what your child is learning and where he or she is struggling, and taking steps to walk alongside teachers and schools. More will be accomplished if schools, families and communities work together to promote successful students.”

Part and parcel of the effort to increase parental engagement is the promotion of Tennessee’s statewide Imagination Library. Created by Dolly Parton in 1996 as a gift to the children in her hometown of Sevierville, Tenn., the Imagination Library mails a new, age-appropriate, high-quality book every month to registered children, from birth until age five – at no cost to the family and regardless of income. All 407,000 of the state’s children under age five have access to the program. To date, over 15 million books have been delivered since the program began in October 2004.

“Tennessee is fortunate to have statewide participation in all 95 counties in the Imagination Library programs, a fact we take great pride in and celebrate,” said Ms. Carl. “We hope that as more parents across Tennessee enroll their children in the program at birth, these families will become even more fully engaged in their children's educational journeys – a process that begins with access to books in the home.”

To learn more about Mrs. Haslam’s initiative to promote parental involvement in education, visit

About the GBBF:  The Governor's Books from Birth Foundation, in partnership with Dolly Parton's Imagination Library, puts free, high-quality, age-appropriate books in the hands of registered Tennessee preschoolers statewide. Its mission is to support the ongoing, statewide operation of Dolly Parton's Imagination Library – assisting all Tennessee preschool children by developing their vocabularies, boosting their school readiness, and fostering a love of learning and reading – and ensure that free, high quality, age-appropriate books are mailed once a month directly to these children’s homes, from birth until age five. To learn how to support your county’s Imagination Library program, or for information on how to register a child, visit, or call toll-free at 1-877-99-BOOKS.


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