By Parlee Jones
Peace and blessings to all the mom’s and dad’s, grandparents and caregivers who got their children off to a new school year. I know quite a few friends who brought their “children” who have become young adults on to college. My sister was one of them as she drives our first to college out in the Berkshires. She just keeps saying I can’t believe that this initial journey with my Son is over. Well, you did a great job, sister, and WPS because he is a product of yours. Thank you to Mr. Monfredo and his incredible staff at Belmont Street Community School for giving Jahnoy and all the Jones children strong, solid foundations. Congratulations to all parents who have completed that first leg of the journey with their children. You are not able to be there with them and can only take solace in the values you instilled and the dreams that they have!
Being an active participant in your child’s school life is one of the most important activities we have as parents. Making sure they make it through elementary, junior and high school years. Our goal is to get them that High School Diploma and be successful in whatever they choose to do. Be it college, the workforce, armed services, or whatever path they choose, you have kept your part of the bargain. The rest is on them.
For those parents that are just starting the journey with their children entering Head Start, Pre-school and Kindergarten, be well prepared to help them receive the education they need, deserve and are promised to come out on the other side with tools and skills they need to survive and thrive in a world that is ever changing.
I dream a school … I dream a school where the bus is able to pick up the child regardless where they live. Sometimes that two mile walk is just enough for a young person to find something else to do for the day. It can also add to tardies and decreased attendance in cold, rainy, snowy weather. Not to mention, unsafe shortcuts, throughways and predators.
I dream a school where there is breakfast waiting for each child ~ regardless of their family income. Something for everyone’s tummy so the grumbling bellies who got up too late to eat, or found there was no cereal in the cabinet at home, won’t interrupt the learning process. Oh, this also includes a delectable lunch.
I dream a school where the principal can invite parents into the school regardless of past mistakes. CORI can be looked at with common sense and parents who are not child molesters or killers, or drug dealers can be involved in their child’s education without the stigma of CORI attached. A three or five year+ clean record would exempt you from the letter stating you are not allowed at your child’s school. I dream a school where discipline is administered to all in an equal, fair and just manner. Whatever happened to parent rooms and parent liaisons?
I dream a school where the principal, teachers, secretaries, cafeteria workers, aides and maintenance team reflect the population of the school.(staff) People who are African American, White, Asian, Hispanic, Middle Eastern and from the African Diaspora all working hand in hand for the future of our fair city and Nation. Each school employee would be required to take a Cultural Awareness class that educates about all the cultures that are calling Worcester home. Also, learning about the issues that face some children on a daily basis, from unemployed and underemployed parents, homelessness and domestic violence to limited food in the home, just to name a few.
I dream a school where administration can actually tell when a teacher is burnt out and find some supports for them so they can get back to doing the profession they chose and love. Or if they don’t like the children, anymore, they can relieve them of their duties so our children do not suffer. Yelling, screaming, and no confidence in the children you are teaching, and bullying don’t belong in the classroom. I dream a school with a 15 to one classroom ratio. Where a true quality education can be given and the teacher can really get to know the student and their family.
I dream a school that is compatible with parent working hours. Anywhere from 8 am to 5 pm sounds ideal. That would help the issue of latchkey kids, afterschool daycare and unattended children. And, do I remember a time, when you actually started school the day after Labor Day? What ever happened to that? I dream a school that would allow khakis and a polo as a uniform that can be purchased anywhere the parents find a deal. No mini skirts and revealing shirts allowed.
I dream a true community school where businesses, neighbors, children, parents and administration have input about what happens in their community. Understanding that it takes that Village to raise our children we should become that village. I dream a school where parents understand it is part of their duty to volunteer even an hour a week or attend the PTA meetings and know your school night, and I dream a school where they will be accepted with whatever they have to offer without being made to feel small.
I dream a school where everything works. From the bubblers in the halls to intercoms in each classroom, everything should be working properly. Each school should have the modern technology that our children need to compete in the work force when they graduate from school even with a high school diploma. I dream a school that automatically has sports teams with coaches that provide their athletic students with uniforms, principles and educational expectations.
I dream a school where each child is actually involved in the say as to what they want to do and put on the right track. I dream a school that is equal in all communities. I dream a school where all children get new books, and supplies are available without the teachers spending their own money. I dream a school where special education … is special!
I know, I am only dreaming, because until the government stops spending so much money on war, nothing else will be allowed to prosper, but that’s another article. We should get together and see what can be changed or improved without a lot of money. I do not doubt the skills and desires of teachers and administrators. Everyone starts out with that determined idea that they will make a change. And some of you do, one child at a time. But we need to acknowledge what works and what does not work without worrying about whose toes we are stepping on.