About Us

The Beginning

In 2004, the Laurel Clergy Association launched an initiative to help Laurel children and families by supporting the area’s Prince George’s County public schools. It paired individual schools and churches with the idea that the churches could furnish the schools with volunteers and other aid. In 2007 that initiative took on a more formal shape as a nonprofit organization, Side by Side, Inc. After more than a year of planning and research, the group launched its first program in 2009, also obtaining tax-exempt, 501(c)(3) status that year.

The Challenge

Prince George’s County elementary schools in the Laurel area face major challenges including high rates of low-income families, substantial limited-English populations, and high rates student turnover. Four out of five of our schools did not meet their Annual Measurable Objective on federal standardized tests and fell below the state average in math and reading assessments.

The Vision

Schools and homes where children reach their full potential.

The Mission

Side by Side engages, equips and encourages parents to partner with schools to promote their children’s success in the classroom.

The Values

To undergird all that we do with prayer, seeking Jesus Christ’s guidance and support.

To treat all children, parents, teachers and school administrators as precious, God-created gifts.

To work tirelessly to recruit all school families to our programs.

To constantly heighten the effectiveness of our programs through critical self-assessment.

To use our resources carefully and efficiently.

The Partners

Side by Side partners with Prince George’s County Public Schools, our local principals, Prince George’s County and city of Laurel governments, churches and other community organizations.

The Plan

The Great Start program fosters long-term success in and out of the classroom through equipping parents to work with their children and meet behavioral, math, and reading goals. Great Start workshops occur at five local schools for parents of pre-kindergarten, kindergarten, first grade, and second grade students. These workshops are designed to ensure that all students can get a “Great Start” in public school. The events all include free dinner, engaging children’s activities for while parents are in workshops, and Spanish interpretation. All of these aspects of the program help to reduce attendance barriers and attract every family.

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