Together we can make a difference – building parent engagement
by Josette Ayres
Recently a brightly colored t-shirt slogan caught my attention. In the center was a rhinestone “T” in the middle of a Superman like logo. Below it read, “Teaching is my SUPERPOWER”. My thought was a resounding, “AMEN”. Amen to those who’ve answered the calling to foster the education of our children. Those amongst us who not only provide a safe and engaging environment for young minds to explore their potential but who also inspire young minds to develop their optimal potential. To me that’s absolutely a “Superpower.” If you’ve ever had the good fortune to see a teacher in action, inspiring, encouraging and developing, you know it’s a special calling. I can rattle off to you a long list of these superheroes, starting with my mom who has devoted over 50 years to education and is still going strong. Educators are special individuals who invest time and energy into young people in the belief that the return on their investment will manifest into respectable, productive members of society.
While the mission of teachers has not changed, the demands on them are very different when you take into account today’s social climate where kids are coming to school with needs exceeding the educational realm. Hunger, mental health, poverty, homelessness, etc. have broad effects on a student’s ability to succeed in the classroom, yet our schools are required to “teach on” in spite of lacking resources to serve the pressing social needs of the child. Every model for student success shows the need for a continuum of contributors including students, the community and parental involvement. Despite this understanding, many of our educators are challenged with raising student achievement seemingly alone.
As a public school advocate with Parents for Public Schools of Waco (PPS Waco) I know all too well the impact empowered and informed parents can have in partnership with schools. Over the years our organization has helped foster relations between schools and home by encouraging parents to become educated on the issues, empowered to use their talents and interest to make a difference in the lives of all kids and to help mobilize parents to action. Through our shared belief in quality education for all children, teachers and school officials can rest assured they do not stand alone in their efforts to equip young minds to succeed.
With that, I encourage WISD parents, friends, and supporters to turn out in large numbers for the upcoming tax ratification election. Early voting begins, Monday October 19th and the election will be held on November 3. The tax ratification will provided a net increase of 5 cents in the District’s tax rate and will generate $8.2 million in revenue per year. The funds will be used to impact student achievement through programs that support:
- Achieve 83% of third graders reading on grade level by 2020
- Hire highly qualified literacy aides for every Pre-K and Kindergarten classroom
- Additional reading teacher positions at middle school
- Expand Brazos Credit Recovery program to include older middle school students
College Credit Opportunities
- Maintain an 8 period day – allows students to take more classes and broadens the learning experience
- Allows all Junior and Seniors to take every dual credit course they want at MCC or TSTC at no cost to families
Behavior and Discipline
- Provide campus-based health services (health professional, social workers, behavioral specialists, etc.)
- Expand Saturday Diversion Classes for students and parents
A Link for more information on the tax ratification is provided below along with dates to the final to community information sessions.
It is my sincerest hope; Waco ISD parents and community members will turn out and vote “yes.” The passing of this tax ratification would significantly impact the opportunities for all students across WISD and set our District on course to transform lives through education in a way that’s never been achieved. Thank you WISD trustees and Superintendent Bonny Cain for your leadership in providing a comprehensive case for community support and for seeking the community voice and input throughout the process. Now we all have a vested interest in student success.
Links & information
Upcoming Town Hall Meetings
- Monday, November 19, 6:00 PM, JH Hines Elementary, 301 Garrison St
- Tuesday, November 20, 5:30 PM, Lake Waco Montessori School, 4601 Cobbs Dr
Josette Ayres is a small business owner of Ink & Stitches and currently serves as the Board President of Parents for Public Schools of Waco. Parents for Public Schools of Waco is a volunteer community board of parents and public school advocates who promote and strengthen public schools by engaging, educating and mobilizing parents.
For more information on PPS Waco check out our Facebook page at Parents for Public Schools of Waco, or contact Josette by Phone/Text at 254-229-7172, or by email at [email protected] . Join Parents for Public Schools for an information session: Monday, October 26, 6:-7:30pm Waco Central Library- 1717 Austin Ave.