Ga. schools learn to roll out red carpet for parents

Monday, September 9, 2013

A line of Ritz-Carlton employees stretched down the hotel hallway, and applause erupted as a group of public school educators walked by.

The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Co. uses the "wall of applause" to show appreciation — a central message during a recent training session with Georgia education officials working on a broad initiative to create family-friendly schools. With research showing a clear link between parent engagement and student success, education officials say it's essential that parents are involved, and they must make sure families feel welcome at schools that can sometimes feel like fortresses.

"Often people will say 'thank you' or 'we appreciate you,' but there's that old adage of actions speak louder than words," said Michelle Sandrock, who oversees the state's parent engagement program and coordinated the recent training at The Ritz. "It's one thing to have someone say 'thank you,' but it's another to have someone stop what they are doing, come over and clap for you."

The Ritz-Carlton has long been known for rolling out the red carpet for its guests, with a dedication to customer service and satisfaction. It's those lessons that educations officials hope to bring from the hotel to the classroom.

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