Schools that Work

When we think of being involved parents* at school, what comes to mind? Is it to volunteer in the classroom? Fundraise for needed items? Attend a program, event, or meeting?

These are only part of what it means to be a modern, engaged parent today. Parents are working, juggling family, extra-curricular activities, and other commitments. Certainly, our students and schools win when parents are meaningfully involved in classrooms and schools. And, while it's true that an engaged parent may be a school volunteer:

  • he may also be interested in learning how school events actually link to learning, so that he may better support learning at home;
  • or, she may want to participate in decision-making opportunities in the school or in the district;
  • or some may wish to advocate not only for their child and her classroom, but for all of the children in the school, city, or town, by speaking out on school-wide issues before local, state, and/or national elected representatives and policymakers.

Between government mandates, increasing class sizes, and shrinking budgets, public schools today are challenged to provide every child with opportunities to meet their educational needs.

Our communities, along with the Commonwealth, and the federal government as a critical third partner, have a shared responsibility for maintaining public schools and ensuring that all children have access to a high-quality public education.

The parent partnership extends beyond the school walls and includes our elected representatives at the local, state, and national levels. We must let them know how they can make a difference for our children by showing up to advocate for resources.

Across Massachusetts, schools lack resources for critical programs they need to close gaps and overcome barriers to learning that threaten the quality of education for every child - and leave our most vulnerable children behind.

To keep the promise of public education alive is to renew our partnership with policymakers and to promote a more fruitful collaboration on behalf of every child in every public school in every city and Town.

I'm dedicated to building family, community, and statewide partnerships that work for our schools and children.

Yes - family engagement is about partnering with our child's teacher and school -- and, yes, it's also about packing healthy lunches for them, monitoring their screen time, and talking with them about their goals and passions.

But, that's not the whole picture.

We all need to work together - beyond the classroom and school - to help our schools obtain the resources they need to fulfill the promise that public education holds for every child.

Advocacy is like an ever-flowing river - one that you may step into at any place, at any time. And whether you choose to dip your toe in at the edge of the shore, or wade all the way into the deep - your presence has changed the course.

Now is the time. We must partner together because these are our children, our schools, our future and they deserve no less.
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* Throughout this post, "parent" refers to any adult who serves a care-giving role in a child's life.