Posted on April 17, 2011
About six weeks ago, I posted a blog reflecting on my personal thoughts about the factors contributing to a successful school: a clear mission statement that articulates the school's philosophy and purpose; strong Board leadership that is future-oriented yet focused on the present; a faculty who are passionate about children and their potential; a cohesive program whereby curriculum, instructional practices, and assessment of student learning inform one another; and a supportive parent community. So many events this past week have prompted me to focus on those who stand with us in partnership to support children -- our parent community.
As I reflect on the happenings of this past week, parents immediately come to the foreground. Here's what I've been noticing:
• These past two Fridays and weekends, the Tech Lab and dining room have been transformed into a busy costume department. With May Day just three weeks away, several parents have been arriving at different times during the day to cut fabric, sew costumes, and print designs.
• Many fifth grade parents, like the group this past weekend, have been pitching in to help their children construct their Sustainable Garden Project. From cutting lumber and filling large garden boxes with soil, to installing a solar panel and planting a variety of plants the students researched for the project, the parents seem to be just as excited as their children about the learning opportunities inherent in this living project.
• A group of mothers with parents and relatives in Japan have been organizing the bake sale to raise funds for Japan's recovery efforts. Just the other day they collected the posters made by students in grades 3-5 and were taping these hand-made signs throughout the campus. By the time you read this (if tonight), you will have baked and packaged your contributions for the sale. And by tomorrow, I know the MPI community will have raised considerable funds for their friends across Pacific.
• In the Epiphany Room, a trio of parents were stuffing the Thursday packets with information for students to take home and preparing the Peace Poems to be displayed in the dining room and around the campus.
• And EVERY week, since the beginning of the school year, a small group of parents voluntarily supervise the children during lunch in the dining room or have been helping the preschool teachers with nap supervision so that the teachers can meet, plan, and analyze documentation.
I could continue to write at least a dozen more examples of parents who arrive on campus each week to support students and teachers! From where I sit in my office, I can hear and feel the "buzz" everywhere, an invisible undercurrent of energy that parents bring to MPI. Whether you are unloading a bagful of donations to the Food Drive this week and next, on your way to share some of your expertise with students on a class inquiry, organizing a classroom library, coming in on the weekends to maintain a class garden, cutting backyard foliage for the May Day performance, or paying the tuition - every ounce of your support does not go by unnoticed nor unappreciated. All of you play a significant role in growing Mid-Pacific Institute.
Thank you, parents. Our gratitude is boundless.
For our children,
Edna L. Hussey