It’s late-- after midnight. I’m still up because I was wondering how many parents went to school yesterday for Report Card Conferences. Teachers remained at school to distribute cards from 4:30 - 6:30 p.m. I’ll find out what percentage showed up when I visit the school later today. I hope we had a good turnout for the first quarter. I remember how hard it was to get some families engaged in their children’s educations when I was a principal. A large portion of our population is eligible for free or reduced price meals; they are families who live in poverty. Poverty plays a large role in their participation.
Frequently, parents who live in poverty don’t take enough time to become actively engaged in their children’s education. Some parents work long hours and can’t get time off to visit the school. A few parents are intimidated or alienated from the school because of their own negative experiences as students. Parents may think that it is the teacher’s job to educate their children without interference from families. They may even put the teachers on a pedestal and believe that the teacher can do everything alone. Some are too old or sick to come to school even though they care. Many of our children are being raised by grandparents. As a result of Hurricane Katrina, some parents live in other states and cities while their children are being cared for by relatives in New Orleans. These relatives may be overwhelmed by the responsibility of raising someone else’s child. Others don’t care at all.
We will send letters home to the families who did not show up, encouraging them to schedule special conferences next week. If the students are making good grades or even passing grades, a telephone call will do.
The Board will distribute certificates to students who are on the Honor Roll, who have Perfect Attendance, or Excellent Behavior. I’m thinking about asking the Board members to give a call of encouragement to parents who do not respond to the follow up conference letters. We want them to know how much we really care about their children’s success.
The opinions expressed in Starting Over: A Post-Katrina Education are strictly those of the author(s) and do not reflect the opinions or endorsement of Editorial Projects in Education, or any of its publications.