By Kia Turner, Ed.D., CEO
Red Apple Education Corporation
As schools reopen and parents once again try to get students into the swing of the school year, the need for parents and schools to work together is front and center. COVID-19 disrupted our school systems in many ways and also exposed deep problems faced by many of our students. Lack of Wi-Fi access and reliable supervision were just two of the issues families faced.
To their credit, school systems have risen to these challenges with changes designed to help our children thrive. For example, school districts have eliminated suspension policies that push out our most vulnerable children. Schools are also introducing social and emotional support into the school day so that children learn how to handle their feelings in a healthy way.
“If you are going to save lives, you have to give children the right spaces, resources, cues, and support for them to share, figure themselves out, and then learn.”
— Nadia Lopez, The Bridge to Brilliance: How One Woman and One Community Are Inspiring the World
My mother worked two jobs my entire life. School was a safe space for me. At home, I was the second adult. I cared for my siblings, cooked dinner, and made sure that the chores were done before my mother got home. At school, I was able to focus on myself and the person I wanted to become. It was at school that I was first told that I could be something other than what I was. One teacher told me that I was great at speaking. Another told me that I was great at writing, and still another encouraged me to go to college. Had it not been for school and my teachers who saw me as I wanted to be, I am not sure where I would be now.
It’s a fact that students who do not finish high school are almost guaranteed a lower quality of life overall, including lower income and poorer health. If we truly view education as the saving of a life, then I say bring on the diversity workshops, encourage teachers to think deeply about bias, reexamine outdated discipline policies, and let’s work with parents and students to reimagine them.
Education at its best is a partnership, and we need that now more than ever.
Red Apple Education Corporation (www.redappleedco.com) is a local education consultancy that trains school districts and their stakeholders to take a people-first approach to student attendance and family engagement.