The Second Line Blog

I am Woman. I am an African American Muslim. I am an Educator. An Interview with Mariam Ogunsanya

Mariam Ogunsanya is a Nigerian born, Maryland raised teacher who has taught Math Essential Skills at Abramson Sci Academy in New Orleans for the last two years. With a younger sister who required early supportive services to manage Autism, Mariam saw first hand the power of intervention and was driven to narrow her teaching focus on special education.

 
Even more unique than her area of interest is that Mariam is an African American Muslim who courageously continues to open herself up to her students’ curious minds; in turn, giving her, even more, opportunities to break barriers by debunking societal stereotypes which widen her students’ frame of reference and exposure to the power of diversity.

 
As a Teach for America(TFA) alum, what are your feelings regarding the community’s often negative perception of their placement within NOLA schools?
I know the message of TFA is in the right place. I went into TFA knowing that I want to teach. When TFA is paired with educators who want to be in it for the long haul, it works, and there is often longevity. TFA’s heart is in the right place. Retention rates are always a thing, no matter what the job is. But the downside of that is the effect on the community. But I don’t think this is always at the fault of anyone. Some educators give their heart and souls for two years and just get burned out and decide that their passion lies somewhere else. I think having that perspective and understanding that it ‘s hard for a community to lose its teachers because the concern is the effect on their children is necessary.

 
Of course, I’m only giving my opinion, but in a lot of cases, a TFA member’s decision not to teach after their two years is not out of spite for that community or wanting to abandon that community. Sometimes it’s simply a matter of “now that I know how to do it, I am motivated to take what I have learned and impact other communities.

 
I feel that guilt right now because I’m leaving now, but I remind myself that I’m not going to a private school. I’m still fighting for equality and equity. I’m just moving to another school that serves the same community but is closer to my family.

 
Admittedly, I completely underestimated how difficult it is to teach skills that we often take for granted like reading and mathematics to students who may have unfortunately slipped through some cracks and present with learning challenges. Can you share some of the difficulties of teaching math intervention in the high school setting?
The biggest barrier that I come across is, “how did I get to this age and be this behind in math?” My students own this as their identity. There’s only so much of this that is healthy. It’s certainly healthy to acknowledge our shortcomings. But not to sit in them. They own a deficit in math as an academic identity, and that is not healthy. “I’m not good at math,” they say. As if this is just what it is and will always be. I want them to remember to humble themselves to own what they don’t know, but accept that they want to learn it, and with this mindset, the sky’s the limit!! It’s dangerous for children to think they can’t get better or become good at something.

 
I’ve noticed something different about your energy this year. You seemed to be in a more secure stride and had a greater sense of ownership this school year. Did you notice this? What attributed to this growth?
This year, I was able to narrow down my focus. I could not have named that last year. I realized that I needed more feedback and coaching on my implementation of small groups.
I used my planning periods to grade exit tickets so I could better use data to plan for the next day for instruction. Being more mindful of my seating chart. Not focusing just on behavior, but meeting academic needs as well. Even my students who struggled with behavior, when matched with the right student, were able to grow academically. Also, I realized that the only way kids are going to do well in my class is if they understand that my class is a safe space and they could forget about whatever stress they may have had in another class or the hallway. I was just a lot more intentional about the space and my delivery.

 
You mentioned feedback and coaching. How important are these tools for professional growth?
Super important! I’ve been able to look at good teaching be modeled both on a personal and professional level. My very close friend Jakia Johnson… She is a mama bear teacher. Seeing her interact with her kids was just so refreshing. She approached her students as if they were HER children; having expectations yet giving love. She was honest, and she was passionate. She preaches to her kids, “Arm yourself with education.” I didn’t think I could do anything like this because I taught math rather than any social studies, but what I learned is that when you make it that personal, you respond to them in a way that gets their attention and in turn, makes the relationship a whole lot better. It makes sense to them.

 
Aside from Jakia, all of the instructional coaches that I have had while at Abramson Sci Academy have drawn a lot out of me as far as helping me to realize how to maintain a positive culture. Whether it was Aidan Kelly, Katie Bubalo, or Alexie Gaddis, they ALL encouraged me to give more of my personality rather than being so rigid and enforcing rules. I struggled a lot my first year because I just wanted compliance. I realized that I had a no-nonsense approach, but what my coaches at ASA taught me what that it is about a balance. Yes, I expect this from you, but I also love you. I love you when you get it. I love you while you struggle. A lot of my kids live in their deficits, and I don’t want them walking away thinking, “I can’t do this” because that is not the goal. Rather, I want them to say, “Hey, I’m getting better at this even those she’s being hard on me.” Balance. I am hoping to continue to get better.

 
In terms of student performance, what are your feelings on growth vs. proficiency?
Growth drives proficiency! They go hand in hand. If you are always seeking proficiency but not putting in the tools for students to make gains, then you’re expecting magic. If we only focus on growth, then we don’t have a standard of measurement. But if we only focus on proficiency, we neglect acknowledging our kids’ progress in skill development.
A lot of my kids may not hit proficiency levels, but Oh boy!” the growth that my kid’s show should be celebrated. It has to be!

 
To see a kid pick their stride and grow is THE BEST FEELING in the world.

 
To see a student transition from saying, “I’m not good at math” to asking me to look over their work for feedback! Man! It’s just so rewarding and what is needed to master outcomes.

 
I recognize that this year has been particularly challenging for you with regards to the presidential election and the rhetoric regarding Muslims in America. How has this affected you?
Well, even before the election, I struggled for a while. Not only am I Black, but I’m Muslim, AND I’m a woman. These are three significant identifying markers. America hasn’t upheld any of these markers. I wondered for a while what my kids saw me as. Am I black or am I am immigrant? The minute they see my headscarf, the next question is always, “Where are you from?”

 
Last year, kids asked about my religion all the time, but this year was different. Kids didn’t ask me about my religion. It was weird. The first time it happens, I use it as an opportunity to educate my kids, because they just don’t know. So many of my kids that I taught last year were SO compassionate toward me this year with everything that was going on. I love being able to dispel the myths that are in the media. There have been times in the past when I’ve thought about teaching in a private Muslim setting to minimize the discomfort, but then I reflect on how powerful it is to see the opposite of what they are used to seeing. How many of our students get to see a Muslim in a teaching setting? One student said to me, “I used to be scared of Muslims until I met you.” This just gave me a feeling of power…of hope. If I can change what the world has told you about people like me, that is impactful enough for me to keep going. It’s such a gratifying feeling being able to be so open with my identity and not hide it. A lot of the things that kids say are things that they are taught. Seeing something opposite of what you are taught, especially if you’ve been taught negative, can be life changing.

 
As you prepare to relocate back home, what will you miss about New Orleans? EVERYTHING! I’m going to miss my kids A LOT! My kids’ personalities are something else. Both the ups and the downs. I’m going to miss being able to monitor their growth. There is no way I would be the teacher that I am without both seeing my friend Jakia teach and the structure of the instructional coaching that ASA has provided me over the last few years. I’m getting emotional just thinking about how I much I want to be able to follow the growth of my kids as they continue to advance in their math courses and take their state tests.

 
What do you want your legacy to be? How do you want the students of ASA to remember you?
I want them to remember that I care about them. I love celebrating their successes in math. I didn’t give up on them, and they shouldn’t give up on themselves. I want them always to remember that math is NOT impossible. It takes work, but it is something that they can do, and they should never tell themselves that they cannot do it. As I mentioned earlier, it’s dangerous for children to think they can’t get better or be good at something, and I hope that I have made them believe that what they have been taught about their learning is not what it is. It is not true that you “just aren’t a math person”. It is okay to make a mistake. In math making mistakes is critical because it teaches you to get better. We have to normalize mistakes as a part of the process to grow.

 
Some damage was done somewhere within other schools or among other teachers and possibly families, but I want them to remember that I was motivated to tap into their strengths and change the way they look at their academic identity.

 
Teaching a child not to quit is a very hard thing to do when a child has been allowed to quit.They can say they need help with something, but they cannot quit, and I want them to remember that they’ve worked through and accomplished what they thought they couldn’t do and this mindset will be transferable to other areas of success in their lives.

5 Suggestions on how Teachers Can Stay Sharp During the Summer

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Last week I wrote an article about ways parents can prevent the summer slide for their students. Summer slide is not only isolated to students, but teachers can also suffer from the “Summer Slide.” Here are five things teachers can do this summer to stay sharp.

1. Read: The same message we give to kids about reading teachers must do the same thing. Often for teachers during the school year, you do not have time to read. So the summer time is the perfect chance to grab a book or two and do some summer reading. Here are my top 3 recommended summer books 1. Black Students, Middle-Class Teachers by Jawanza Kunjufu. 2. For White Folks Who Teach in the Hood… and the Rest of Y’all Too. By Christopher Embin. 3. The Ball by Todd Whitaker. 

2. Engage in a Twitter Chat: I find myself engaged in Twitter Chats all the time. For me, they serve the purpose for getting into a healthy debate on current educational issues. More importantly, they serve the purpose of engaging and learning from fellow teachers. Some of the best Twitter Chats currently available are #NTChat, a chat for new teachers, #EdChat, which is a new chat where teachers share best practices and discuss issues of the day, and also my favorite and one I join every Tuesday, #BMETalks, it is a talk started by black male educators and open to anyone who wants to engage in best practices for black male students.

3. Learn a New Skill: Out with the old in with the new. As teachers, we must keep our toolbox sharp. The best way to do that is to make sure we have new tools for the new school year. The summertime is the perfect time to explore skills and techniques for your students. You can also enhance new skills. During the summer is the perfect time to learn the latest technology integration for your classroom. Also, maybe you saw an influence of ELL students, so maybe spend the summer learning a new language to better engage with those students and families.

4. Low-Cost Professional Developments: Research some local PD opportunities at school districts and local universities in your area. Many school districts offer PD opportunities for teachers. Often times these PDs are free or cost little to nothing. They are great opportunities to spend one day learning from local teachers on best practices. Also, look online for PD opportunities. If you check out TeachHUB, you can find a professional development that may have a discussion group you can join.

5. Rest: These new skills will not do you any good if you do not get any rest. You will be a better teacher next school year if you take some time to just rest. Find a block in the summer that is your time. Maybe take a week, two weeks, or even an entire month and do nothing I mean absolutely nothing. Taking time off will help you to refresh and recharge.

Teachers whether you take my advice or not, remember to use your summer wisely you want to make sure you at your best when you return to your students in the Fall!

‘Take Em Down Nola’ is Ed Reform at its Finest

 

If you think “Take Em Down Nola” is just about monuments, then allow me to broaden your thoughts on the importance of the history that was just made. It is not a coincidence that the movement was spearheaded by a group of dedicated and creative educators who have succeeded in fulfilling one of the greatest acts in education ever. The collaboration of ‘K-16’ educators is something that is dreamed of by organizations throughout the nation who call for increased alignment with policies and strategies in regards to the move from K-12 to postsecondary education. From Malcolm Suber, an adjunct professor and long time activist in New Orleans to Michael “Quess?” Moore, a colorful, vivid and visionary librarian and teacher along with Angela Kinlaw the powerful, dedicated and vocal K-8 principal, the role of educator is looking great marching toward the future while simultaneously absorbing the strength and social fortitude of educators of a distinguished past. The Take Em Down Nola movement should be used as a catalyst in education throughout the world.

I always push the mantra of controlling the narrative through conversation, dialogue and actions.  In my humble opinion, the removal of these monuments has shifted the narrative to focus on a part of history that was never told. Take Em Down Nola has begun to literally change history and history books for the betterment of all of our education.

Deeper than a symbolic act of a removal is giving hundreds of thousands of men, women, and children of African descent a voice and the opportunity for their story to be told. The movement can be used by people of various ethnic backgrounds and cultures to insert their coveted and sacred narratives into places that have historically been according to white men and whatever versions of stories that they wanted the world to know and learn.

The movement also embraces the notion of parent and stakeholder engagement that Ed Reform and charter schools advocates speak of so dearly. Take Em Down Nola has also worked alongside a vast group of community organizations and activists as well as supporting other the campaigns of other civics groups. They have also engaged their students about the true, and untold history that lie beneath every story, monument, plaque situated amongst the unheard slave voices of the many plantations previously aligned along Louisiana’s waterways. In a classroom chat with his students, Michael “Quess?” Moore delves into the mind of our young people about their feelings on the monuments:

“I showed the news footage to my third graders. I asked them if they could make a connection between the man in the statue and the discussions that we had been having all year. “Yeah, that’s them people who wanted to keep slavery,” they said. “That’s right,” I told them. “And what do you think our city is trying to tell us when they make people like that monuments and put ’em way up in the sky?” “That they over us, like our parents,” said one student. “That they have power,” said another. Ahh…the mouths of babes. I told them that they’d just spoken a truth that even their great-grandparents may have not been able to freely articulate”.

The city of New Orleans removal of monuments erected to honor men who fought against our country and who desperately wanted to continue taking advantage of the free labor that made many of their families rich goes further than just symbolism. The work done by this group of educators can be used as a catalyst for classroom topics and discussions by other educators locally, nationally and worldwide. This is a chance to reinvent the narrative around what really happened during the time of these abominable men’s lives. The Take Em Down Nola movement offers an installation of stories to be shared throughout cultures and heritages. What a great time to be an educator or student with so many possibilities that lie ahead. This moment should be just the beginning.

5 Tips for Summer College Prep for Millennials

By: 

As the summer season sets in and the last high school graduates walk across the stage, we all remain hopeful for new experiences that the fall season and the start of a new school year will bring. For most graduating seniors, the thrill and exhilaration of high school graduation will wane as the summer break concludes while eagerness and possible anxiety will commence as you await the beginning of your college journey.  Incoming college freshman can be proactive in ensuring you are prepared to succeed in college and beyond. Follow these 5 useful tips to help prepare for your new life on a college campus.

1) Understand the layout of your campus.

Knowing how your campus is set up can be very important for success during your college years. If you can choose which dorm to stay in make sure that you find one that is close to where most of your classes are going to be. Take time to explore the campus and find out where each of your classes is held. Unlike high school, not all of your classes will be in the same building Residing close to your class locations means you won’t always have to be in a rush if your morning routine happens to take an extra 5 minutes. We all know how getting up in the morning can sometimes be a pain.

You will also want to know where the dining hall and restaurant options are in relation to your dorm and classrooms. Making a mad dash to get lunch at the same time as 1,000 other students won’t be too much of a hassle if you’re eating near your next class or dorm. In my experience, I have also used the knowledge of my campus to find the perfect spots to study or do assignments. Finding that right environment that encourages you to be productive is also key. I could never study or do work in my dorm room, but you could catch me on the 4th floor of the library any day of the week. Know your campus layout so that you can use it to your advantage.

2) Use your resources.

There are a plethora of resources to get support and assistance for students on most college campuses. These resources can help you with a range of issues that you may run into as a student from a physical injury to help on that bio lab. It is important to know what resources are available to you and where they may be found. Sometimes emergencies happen, and they can be resolved faster and more efficiently if you know exactly where to go. Academically, the best thing you can do is at least occasionally attend tutor sessions for some of the classes that you have and build a relationship with an academic advisor and/or career counselor. Going to tutoring sessions and maintaining communication with your academic advisor are great ways to remain academically astute and get any unanswered questions addressed. You may also get lucky and have a tutor who is willing to help you with your homework as well. Never be afraid or ashamed to go in and get help from your academic advisor either. As adults, we like to be independent and figure things out on our own, but your academic advisor has been hired by your college or university so that you don’t have to do that. Always remember that there is help for you during your college journey if you know where and how to access it.

3) Keep an eye out for financial aid.

Most departments within a college or university have scholarships and financial assistance that they will provide to students who apply and meet requirements. It is important to talk to your professors and department staff to stay in the know about scholarship opportunities. Going to tutoring, as was discussed in the previous tip, can also help you get your foot in the door for scholarships. You will be able to connect with older students who can help you as well. You will also need to visit your actual financial aid office and check to see what they can do for you. They may also recommend that you apply to a work-study program. These programs will allow you to make money to help pay for tuition while also working on campus. Money is out there, but it is important to know where and how to obtain it.

4) Invest in the right technology.

Today’s educational environment can be very saturated with tech. In some classes, you won’t even see a piece of paper because the professor has decided to convert her/his whole teaching style to digital. In this case, certain devices are becoming necessary for the modern student to thrive. Number one gadget: A LAPTOP. This might be the most important for a student today besides their brain (up for debate). And when paper is being used in the classroom, it might also be a good idea to invest in a printer. One of the excuses I’ve heard the most for being late in college was something along the lines of “My paper wouldn’t print at the library.” If you have your own printer then know where else you can go to print. Some computer labs around campus may be able to provide free printing and use of computers in the event you are not able to secure your own. Consider your technology needs when requesting and/or applying for financial aid as well. It is also likely that financial aid for some students will include refund money. Remember that your refund money shouldn’t be used for a shopping spree or a night on the town. Investing your financial resources wisely is essential to set yourself up for success – and technology needs should be part of your investment.

5) Get to know your professors.

On day one it is very important to speak to all of your professors and at least tell them your name so they can put a name to a face. Some professors do not even see some of their students at all. That student is then reduced to a name, an ID Number, and her/his grades. Don’t be a number. Show your professor that you are a person who takes their education seriously, and they will be very willing to get to know you. There is so much help on class concepts, homework, and tests that can be received from your professor if you know them on a more personal level. Everything that you will apply for from here on out will require at least one letter or recommendation. Who better to talk highly of you than your professor that you have befriended over the course of the semester? Getting to know your professor from the start has nothing but positive outcomes. You never know what kind of opportunities they may open up for you in the future.

 
Mendell Grinter is the Founder & Executive Director of Campaign for School Equity –  nonprofit organization committed to the equitable utilization of high quality educational options. Grinter is also a member of the 2017 Forbes 30 Under 30.

Black People Support Vouchers, Black Leaders Don’t. Who’s Right?

At times, black people, like any group battered and oppressed by the state, may celebrate any perception of forward motion. Folks scour social media pages to see who has what appointment, what political power is being amassed, and what black person has been newly elected.

Although I strongly believe in the need for more representation and more political action, unfortunately, too often, having black people in positions of power—especially politicians—does not necessarily further the educational causes of black children in America. Recently, I wrote about a local legislator who works to ensure other people’s children have the same opportunities he did growing up. But, for many politicians, including black ones, parity between the choices their constituents’ children have and the choices their own children have is always elusive.

In a 2002 New York Times article, “Why Blacks Support Vouchers,” Michael Leo Owens stated that black students’ achievement in schools should have a strong and direct positive correlation with the increase in black political power. Although it is remarkably clear that black people remain underrepresented in America’s legislative bodies, those who are in these positions too often side against the most disenfranchised of their constituencies.

An increase in black and brown political power should have ushered in unprecedented levels of black and brown academic achievement, but it hasn’t.

The NAACP’s stance against charter schools and the right to school choice for millions of poor black parents starkly symbolizes how black political influence is too often black political cowardice and hypocrisy.

http://www.theroot.com/the-naacp-will-learn-the-pain-associated-with-charter-s-1794108582

Owens remarked that:

… we are desperate for decent education for our children. And people in my generation and those younger doubt the ability of black government leaders to influence public education policies in ways that would benefit our children. Our support for vouchers is essentially a critique of politicians’ ineffectiveness.

In the post-civil rights era, the number of blacks sharing power and responsibility for urban public education has grown dramatically. From 1977 to 1999, the number of black elected officials with influence over public education in cities (mayors, council members, school board members and superintendents) more than doubled, to 5,815 from 2,724

The educational achievement of black children and the overall quality of urban public schools have failed to improve significantly.

I predict that if vouchers are funded, black families will flock to them. It is not that they believe they are the cure-all, but it reflects black communities’ desperation for better educational opportunities for their children. Those who strongly oppose vouchers—especially black politicians and policy influencers—are usually the same people who wouldn’t sacrifice their own children for the good of the poor. It is for this reason that black parents will typically ignore those cautioning against vouchers. Just as black folks braved the cautions about what lay north and west when they participated in the Great Migration, black folks know that hope is captured in moving forward, not standing still.

The truth is that as much as black families need more school options, vouchers will be harmful in some ways, especially if the U.S. Department of Education fails to regulate them and continues to decline its responsibility to hold all schools receiving public dollars accountable for outcomes—especially for those who continue to suffer the greatest educational inequities.

Owens concluded by acknowledging the limitations of a voucher system in improving the overall educational justice that has been diverted from our communities:

My generation knows that vouchers have serious limitations. We recognize that no voucher program can save a failing public system. Poorly funded vouchers don’t offer much of a chance for poor children to enroll in expensive alternative schools. … And vouchers can’t end the resistance of many suburban schools to black enrollment.

But they offer the only hope available to many poor students trapped in the nation’s worst schools. For a limited number of children, they may make a crucial difference. That possibility is enough for black parents to take a chance.

Owens’s reflections about poor black people’s perspectives about vouchers remind me of Pauli Murray’s poem about hope:

Hope is a crushed stalk

Between clenched fingers

Hope is a bird’s wing

Broken by a stone.

Hope is a word in a tuneless ditty —

A word whispered with the wind,

A dream of forty acres and a mule,

A cabin of one’s own and a moment to rest,

A name and place for one’s children

And children’s children at last . . .

Hope is a song in a weary throat.

Read Owens’ entire article here.


Sharif El-Mekki is the principal of Mastery Charter School–Shoemaker Campus, a neighborhood public charter school in Philadelphia that serves 750 students in grades 7-12. From 2013-2015, he was one of three principal ambassador fellows working on issues of education policy and practice with U.S. Department of Education under Secretary Arne Duncan.

El-Mekki holds a bachelor’s degree from Indiana University of Pennsylvania and gained his master’s degree and principal certification from Cheyney University of Pennsylvania.

El-Mekki blogs at Philly’s 7th Ward.

This is Why We Do What We Do…No Questions Asked

 

By: The Parent Advocators

“Believe In Yourself as a Parent. NO ONE knows your child better than YOU. You have been there since their first BREATH. There is NO better ADVOCATE for their needs.”

Many have been wondering why we do what we do and how successful do we truly believe this will be. Well, let us break it down for you. We started out fighting for a high-quality education for our scholars all 600 plus. We refuse to let anyone dictate to us who would educate, inspire and be present fixtures in their lives. On this mission, we started out being about 12 vocal parents and that number slowly decreased. Not saying that those parents weren’t as motivated and as active but life and priorities can sometimes take precedence.

With the help of the primary school officials, we caught wind of an illegal board meeting that was set to take place at our school. Keep in mind that parents were not properly notified of this meeting. Also with the help from those officials, we set up site visits(we toured one school per CMO), a day filled with us interviewing each CMO and daily debriefing. When entering the interview, each CMO was presented with an addendum created by us the parents. We demanded three seats for parents in the Recovery School District (RSD) selection committee, which we were awarded and ran those interviews as if we were the only ones present. We eventually worked alongside with RSD and elected officials in our mission. In the end, we won this battle for our Scholars. We the parents were given the opportunity in a press conference to announce that InspireNola would take over Andrew H. Wilson into the 2015-16 school year and beyond.

This process was the start of a positive movement. We set out to assure our scholars received what we all knew they definitely deserved. The year began with getting our students adjusted to the InspireNOLA culture and all around learning environment. Many thought this process would take at least a month but our scholars adjusted in a week. Many times during the process we asked the students what would they like in a CMO and across the board, the answers were culture and discipline. During the first year InspireNOLA took over the scholars along with the administration and staff worked hard to assure each scholar was learning to the best of their ability. We are proud to say that within one school year our scholars brought the school letter grade from an F to a C and also achieved the highest academic gains in the city of New Orleans.

At that moment we as parents knew we achieved the one thing we set out for on behalf of our scholars. We knew it was “The Start of Something Special” and we must take this movement beyond the walls of Andrew H. Wilson. The goal of The Parent Advocators is to set the tone for assuring parents fight for the Highest Educational experience for their scholar. We want parents to know they have a voice and must use it to take a stand and demand.

Unionized in NOLA

Teachers at Mary Coghill Charter School chose union representation during a vote on May 19th.  United Teachers of New Orleans will be instrumental in contract negotiations for the teachers.
 
“We formed the union to ensure that we are able to facilitate learning in an environment where the policies implemented are impartial and are beneficial to student progress.”
Read more here

The Start of Something Beautiful

 

By: The Parent Advocators

“The Parent Advocators was started when we as parents took a stand for our children’s education. We are parents working to empower other parents to assure their child receives the best education possible. Taking what we’ve done and seen as a real success to the next level of educating parents and showing them how to demand a high-quality education for all scholars. Taking it one state at a time starting with Louisiana. Enforcing the parent voice. Which is the most important piece”.

Who are The Parent Advocators? We are parents who work to empower and educate parents in using their voice for in bettering their child’s education. The future of quality, quantity and high functioning education in the Unites States is at an all-time low.  We have taken a vow to start with our state of Louisiana to ensure all scholars have selection of high quality

What is The Parent Advocators mission?  To help with bridging the gap between home and school. To be the voice for those who would sometimes be unheard.

When and why was The Parent Advocators formed? The Parent Advocators was created after we as parents fought for the best  CMO for our kid’s school. We were not about to let RSD, councilmen or women and other state officials dictate who would run our school and teach our children. As parents, we know what’s  best for our kids. So after the transition with our scholar’s school in 2014, we knew then that the fight had just begun. We had to do more for the students of New  Orleans.  

What success has The Parent  Advocators had? Our first success was, of course, our kid’s school Andrew H. Wilson. In the summer of 2016, the Recovery School District reached out to us to be a part of their process for McDonogh#42. Those parents (even though it was just a handful) voices were heard. McDonogh#42 was awarded the CMO their parents felt strongly would lead their scholars to have a successful education with high academic gains over time. We hope to be able to point the parents of OPSB schools in the right direction for their scholars as well.

Many times we’ve been asked, “what makes you think this would be successful?” “What makes you think parents want to have their voices heard?”

My question is why wouldn’t they? Why wouldn’t we be successful? One thing that needs to be understood is parents care more about their scholars and their education than what many think. We make a choice to send our scholars to a particular school which means we are actually invested.

Parents at times feel unwanted from school. It’s time to take a stand and ensure the parent voice is the first voice heard. Bridging the gap between home and school. Parents it’s time to stand up and be your scholars first advocate.

Stay tuned for details on how we truly got this movement started and where we plan to take it.

Signed,

The Parent Advocators