Together Baton Rouge, meeting over lunch today, will launch its new “alliance schools” strategy with the premise: For public schools to be successful, the public needs to be invested in their success.

Organizers expect more than 150 faith, community and educational leaders to attend the noon gathering at Mount Pilgrim Baptist Church, 9700 Scenic Highway. The meeting is in the church’s Family Life Center on the north side of the campus.

“We believe the success of public schools is the responsibility of our entire community,” said Rene Singleton, co-chair of TBR’s education team, in an email. “It’s time we all start rolling up our sleeves and acting on that belief.”

The new effort, beginning with Progress Elementary School in Scotlandville, will include three elements:

First, identify a Volunteers in Public School reading or math friend for every child who needs one at the partner school (pre-k through 3rd grade), to make sure struggling students have the one-on-one engagement that research has shown is crucial to academic growth.

Second, TBR will conduct intensive training and guidance with the school faculty and parent community on effective parent engagement to help the school build a strong culture of parent, family and community participation at the school.

Finally, create a model for how congregations and community institutions can become a base for an approach to “school reform” that is more grass-roots in orientation, driven by parents, educators and community members, instead of coming from the outside and the top-down.

TBR will first look to recruit more than 100 volunteers in public schools, who will work one-on-one with progress students every week in reading or math. The recruitment drive will last through TBR’s end-of-year celebration on Dec. 10. Sign up online at