BY TEMEKA CARTWRIGHT, she/her, Butler College Prep parent leader
When I was asked to write for this blog about parent engagement in education, I was excited, and the nerves set in. How can I write something that effectively shows how I support my daughter’s school life? I am a single, working parent. I work a 9-to-5 that often extends until 7 p.m. sometimes. I have wanted to be involved at my daugher’s school, but my main priority is to provide for Ramiah.
My daughter began her educational journey with Noble, specifically Butler College Prep, her sophomore year. She has flourished ever since. Her enthusiasm and love for her educators and administrators are what inspired me to want to get involved. I want to support the community that inspires my child to see greatness in herself.
MY STORY AT NOBLE
Temeka Cartwright (right) talks with another parent leader, Myisha Shields (left), at this year's first Parent Leadership Series meeting for Noble Schools.
I spoke to many receptive and welcoming school Noble administrators about being involved, but it was still difficult to find ways that would work for me with my work responsibilities. I was grateful to find that the Noble Schools network is highly inclusive to working moms. Pattilyn Beals, Noble’s Manager of Government & Community Affairs, is a godsend. She found innovative ways for me to get involved. I am also equally grateful for the opportunities Ellen Moiani, the Director of Government & Community Affairs, created. (Thank you, Patti and Ellen!)
I’ve attended Parent Advisory Council (PAC) meetings for various schools and connected with other amazing moms who are also focused on their children’s education. I have a community of parents and administrators that I can speak with for inspiration or even motivation.
While I am a working mom and typically unavailable during school hours, I was provided an opportunity to support Butler by the girls’ volleyball coach, Ms. Sitterson (Although, I think my daughter volunteered me). I proudly supported the girls’ volleyball team by selling concessions at the home games. I gained a fantastic opportunity not only to be at the game for the team, but to support Butler overall. Sometimes, I even help the students who may not have enough money for a ticket or a snack. I believe that if I am providing for someone’s baby, the universe will provide for mine should she ever need it.
WHY PARENT ENGAGEMENT IS ESSENTIAL
I believe that parental involvement is crucial to our children’s development. I am a firm believer in the adage that it takes a village to raise a child. Getting involved at your child’s school expands that village for you and your child.
Parent engagement is vital to me for the following reasons:
- It builds the bridge between home and school, which is crucial to the success of our children and community.
- Provides parents and educators the opportunity to connect outside parent-teacher conferences and report card pickups.
- Children benefit from the support of their parents, their extended village, and educators.
- Being involved is great for your child and excellent for their friends. Sometimes, kids need extra love and support from elders in their village. Being involved at their schools places you in the prime place to show love and support to all children who cross your path. You never know who needs those words of encouragement or a high-five in their day.
- Being involved also helps to benefit the parent. It gives you access to a network of parents and educators that will listen and help our children succeed.
I am honored to give back to the Butler and Noble community and grateful for the support I receive from other parents and staff. Parents, if you have not found a way to get involved at your child’s school, it may be easier than you think. Connect with the PAC (Parent Advisory Council) at your child’s school and don’t forget to have fun while doing it.