2012 - 2013 Parent Involvement Matters Award winner
Wicomico County Public Schools
Lauralyn Geiser is the proud parent of three boys. Mrs. Geiser became very involved with the Fruitland schools from the time her oldest son entered kindergarten. She is a magnificent supporter of the learning environment within the classroom, the teachers and other students, and has been a welcome addition to our school system. Eager to be involved, she has offered her time and energy whenever needed.
Mrs. Geiser’s first official role began when working with the Parent Advisory Committee at Fruitland Schools where she assumed the role of Secretary. As she learned about the dynamics of public education, she began to take on a more active role. She is currently the Treasurer for Fruitland Schools Parent Teacher Association while also serving as the chairperson for the Scholastic Book Fair.
Mrs. Geiser participates in Executive PTA meetings and bimonthly General PTA meetings. In addition, she has assumed the chairperson position on the Parent Advisory Committee. Mrs. Geiser also represents the Fruitland Schools Parent Advisory Committee at the county level and meets with the Superintendent of Schools in Wicomico County. She writes a Parent Advisory Committee article for the Fruitland Newsletter where she encourages and promotes active involvement in educational issues within our school and county. Mrs. Geiser has provided a “Parent Link” (phone message sent to all families) on occasion when important information needs to be passed onto the Fruitland Schools community.
Mrs. Geiser is a founding member of the group “Parents in Action of Wicomico County”. This group was created as a result of parental concern over the education funding in the Wicomico County Schools. The focus of the group has evolved since its inception in the fall of 2011. On October 4, 2011, the Board of Education of Wicomico County held a Community Budget Meeting where parents were made aware of the potential cuts to the education budget for the following school year.
Mrs. Geiser was extremely concerned about the impact the cuts may have on students, teachers and our schools. Shortly thereafter she attended a Parent Advisory Council Meeting with the Superintendent of Schools as a representative for Fruitland Primary Schools. During this meeting she asked many questions regarding how the education funds for the county could be preserved. Mrs. Geiser immediately scheduled a meeting with the Superintendent of Schools for Wicomico County, two Assistant Superintendents as well as the Board of Education Comptroller. At this point, Mrs. Geiser began a long road of educating herself about both the Wicomico County education and county budgets.
After reading an article written by a parent who attended the Community Budget Meeting, Mrs. Geiser arranged a conference with the author. In the beginning of November 2011 they attended the first of many county council meetings to express their concerns regarding the financial difficulties within the county and its effect on the Board of Education’s budget. Subsequent to this meeting, Mrs. Geiser and three other parents’ banded together to discuss education funding and what they might be able to accomplish in order to preserve funding.
They realized they had a common goal and it was imperative to form an independent group of concerned parents who were willing to research current county budgets, meet with county officials, discuss all issues related to education funding with individuals in the community who were well informed on the subject, as well as speak publicly regarding their focus. Parents in Action was created at this time and distinguished itself as a separate body from all formal organizations, agencies and public entities.
Mrs. Geiser and the group have been vigilant in their pursuit of information as well as creating systematic and realistic goals. During the month of November, 2011 Parents in Action attended two county council meetings where Mrs. Geiser spoke out about the need for level funding for Wicomico County Board of Education for the following school year. In addition, she met with the County Executive and the President of the Board of Education in order to gather further information.
The focus of Parents of Action had evolved at this point to the preservation and strengthening of funds for education in Wicomico County. Mrs. Geiser and the other members also advocated for moving forward on the construction of a new Bennett Middle school for the county. In mid-November, Parents of Action made a presentation to the community about the function of their group and encouraged attendees to become involved in education by attending County Council meetings, Board of Education meetings, and sending e-mails or letters to council members in support of preserving funding as well as the construction of a new middle school.
Most recently, Mrs. Geiser attended the County Council meeting and the request for moving forward on the construction of a new middle school was voted down by the council 4-3. She and the other founding members are quite resilient and have not given up on the possibility of a new school. Although Mrs. Geiser is disappointed about the county council’s decision to not move forward at this time on the building of the much needed middle school, she continues to remain focused on the big picture when it comes to the student’s right to exceptional education.
Parents in Action of Wicomico County is responsible for motivating citizens to work together to advocate for a quality of education that all children deserve and providing the best funding possible for our schools. Mrs. Geiser and Parents of Action are promoting collaboration between county government, the Board of Education and the citizens of Wicomico County. They want to live in a community that values education and they are working today to build that very community. [created January 2012]