On Thursday, Fulton County Schools will ask faith leaders what ideas they have to help students thrive.
The district will hold a half-day Faith Summit designed to create partnerships between schools and communities of faith.
Leaders of local houses of worship are asked to engage with Superintendent Dr. Robert Avossa, principals, school board members, and other district leaders in a dialogue about how to help students.
The forum, which is in its third year, will be held 9 a.m. to noon May 1 at Stonecreek Church at 13540 Highway 9 North in Milton. The event is free, and registration and networking will kick off at 8:30 a.m.
Breakout sessions will inspire discussion around the different ways houses of worship can work collaboratively with the district and schools.
Topics include many of the issues faced by the community that often affect schools, such as mental health issues, building trust between children and adults and the growing trend of sex trafficking.
Information also will be shared on the services offered by the school system to support students’ emotional and educational needs as well as ways to build strategic and two-way partnerships.
“Our faith houses – churches, synagogues and others, for example – offer unique ways to reach families within our community," Avossa said. "They often can break through the barriers that our teachers or adults in the schools can’t. It’s a natural, synergistic partnership for our schools and houses of worship to work together. I look forward to the commitment activity at the end of this year’s summit where faith leaders will share their 'one thing' that will help our students thrive.”
Last year’s event drew more than 300 attendees and resulted in several new partnerships, such as the ones between Roswell North Elementary School, First Baptist Church of Roswell and Zion Missionary Baptist Church.
The churches support students through mentoring programs, donations of school supplies and preparing “backpack meals,” where food is sent home to disadvantaged families.
In south Fulton, the senior pastor at Kingdom of God International Ministry coordinates a pre-trial diversion program where faith leaders work with teens who are first-time offenders in trouble with the law.
Faith leaders work with the students on goal-setting, decision-making, accountability, leadership development and conflict management and make recommendations on their progress to judges in Fulton County’s magistrate court.
After a panel discussion, attendees will participate in a conclusion activity that asks them to brainstorm ideas and commit to the one thing that they can do to help students thrive.