Over the past several years Lorain City Schools have gone through some challenging times. School buildings were torn down and new ones were built in their place. Students have been moved from building to building and from program to program. We have endured several levy failures, changes in school leadership and a difficult economy. The one important thing that has not changed is the need to fully educate our children, especially ours in Lorain. We now have a golden opportunity to improve our children’s chances to succeed in education and they need our help.
I am in a unique position in that I have the free time available to volunteer at Toni Morrison Elementary. I am there five days a week, standing outside making sure the children get into the building safely. I perform many other tasks in the building including book sales, Santa secret shop, photographing special events and assisting the staff with special projects. There are several other parents who give a huge amount of their time at Toni Morrison and I’m sure other schools as well. Again I said I have a unique situation and do not expect anyone to do as much as I do.
One of the things I do in the morning while tardy children are being signed in by the secretary is answer the telephone. Normally it is just transferring a call or taking a message. Several times recently I have taken calls from parents who are calling their children in sick. We record the child’s name, room number and teacher to make sure their home is not called to report the child as being absent. I am amazed at the number of parents who still do not know their child’s room number or teacher’s name. I sat in the outer office and watched a parent bring in their child’s lunch and he did not know the teacher’s name. Recently, another parent was bringing in her daughters late and did not know either teacher’s name. I introduced myself to her because I thought she was new to the building and asked her how long her children had been at Toni Morrison. She told me that they had been there for a few years. How can we be invested in our children’s education if we cannot name their teacher?
We have to do a better job as parents.
We cannot expect the schools to do an excellent job of teaching if we are bad at parenting, and frankly, some of us are.
We need to get to know our teachers and our principals.
We need to make sure that our children are doing their school work every night, including reading. Teachers can only do so much and without our help their job is much more difficult than it needs to be. We had fewer than 50 percent of our parents attend parent teacher conferences even though we were able to visit the school either in the morning or afternoon, and only several parents made other arrangements to see the teachers. I understand the ratio is even lower at other schools. We have to do better than that. We have to show our children that their education is important not only to them but to us. If we show them education is important then they will feel the same way.
I know some of us have had difficulties in the past with school staff, but we need to somehow find a way to look beyond that. If you have an issue with any staff member, take it to the attention of the building principal. I have been promised parent complaints at Toni Morrison will be acted on. I also know that some parents reading this are not guilty of this type of behavior.
We have an opportunity with brand new buildings and state of the art technology. Despite the ongoing challenges we face along with the Board of Education and the Lorain City Schools administration, we need to give our individual schools and children our 100 percent support.
By Brian Reinhardt, Vice President of the Toni Morrison Elementary School PTO in Lorain.
Source: The Morning Journal - http://goo.gl/HFxsV