Thursday, March 03, 2005

Parents are the Key

In no uncertain terms, parents are one of the main keys to the success of any school. This is especially so with a charter school. Parents play a vital role to support some of the administrative functions. An involved parent provides leadership and stands as a shining example to the student or their own child. Parents have skills, talents, experience, knowledge and motivation that can be brought to bear in just about any situation.

My eldest son attended Memorial High School for all four years of his High School experience. My wife and I tried to be involved, not too involved mind you, but we did show an interest and were willing to get involved. Things reached a point where we needed to be involved and I can tell you that what we encountered is best described as a brick wall! The principal, the administrative staff and the teaching staff let us know that we were not at all welcomed. We had no business interfereing with their turf. That they did not have time to devote to us and our circumstances. As a result, our son suffered academically and was only able to slightly recover.

There were metal detectors at each entrance, armed security guards roaming around. There were several riots in the parking lot, prompting the then Superintendent of TPS to close the campuses for lunch. My son was literally jumped and beaten up from behind by a young thug that should have gone to jail. This is hardly an environment for learning and I can attest to the fact that there is no culture of learning promoted at that school. I'm saying that althought a few people can get an education to prepare them for a future, the vast majority are just putting in their time.

My, my, my, how things have changed! Memorial used to be a fantastic school. It had a high percentage of its graduates attending colleges all over the country. Now it is only one year away of making the needs improvement list I have mentioned before. When that occurs, only Booker T. Washington High School will not be on the list. But with that school, the deck is already stacked in their favor. More on that subject later.

Less than one mile away from Memorial stand TSAS. I encourage you to go to see it for yourself. You couldn't have a more stark contrast. What an enviroment of learning is cultivated there! By the way, you will see parents welcomed and involved there throughout each day. It's one of the keys of success.

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