Lincoln Elementary parent volunteers help in building Lincoln's Cabin

Wendy Joseph checks an order for Lincoln Elementary School’s cookie sale to make sure it’s just right. Joseph is a parent volunteer for the school.
By Jessica Williams

Originally published Dec. 17, 2009

Parents at Lincoln Elementary are building President Abraham Lincoln's childhood log cabin.

Out of paper and volunteer hours, that is.

Cara Conwell, family involvement coordinator at the school, has started "Log into Lincoln" this year. The program tries to get parents to take an active role in their child's education while at Lincoln.

"The goal is to get parent involvement in the school. Studies have shown that the more parents (are involved), the better (their) students do in school," Conwell says.

She wants parents to be both aware and involved in what is going on in their students' lives.

She explains she ran across a similar program at Flint Springs Elementary School. But this program differs in that for every five hours a parent spends volunteering, he or she gets a "log" to put on a bulletin board in the school to build the former president's log cabin.

And parents aren't limited in how they can help.
"They can do just about anything," Conwell says.

She does have a list that parents can do things from, and teachers have their own projects, too.

"(Conwell) contacts the classroom teachers to set up times for parents to come and volunteer their talents ..." reads the informational box in the principal's December newsletter, located on Lincoln's Website.

Parents can read to students in small groups or help them with math problems. They can also help out with projects or classroom parties.

But if parents can't get to school because of work, they are still able to help. Projects are just sent home to them on which to work.

Conwell says there are more than 50 parents involved in the program, 20 being active and 10 to 15 the most regular. Some come on their lunch breaks and some are unemployed and want to help out at the school.

The program has received positive feedback as well, Conwell says..
"I know the teachers love it. They're very appreciative for any help that they can get, to help cut things out, to help read to students. They can only [do so much]," Conwell explains.

Conwell, whose children are currently too young for school, only works at school for five hours a week. She doesn't just operate Log Into Lincoln either.

The position was advertised by the school corporation, she explains, and she and her husband discussed it and decided it was a good thing for her to get involved.
"It just seemed like a good fit, and I 100 percent agree with what Lincoln is trying to do."

Conwell can be reached at Lincoln Elementary at 356-2914 on Wednesdays or by e-mail at ccon