“We must stand together to make a change and difference in our community.”
– Ms. Patrick, parent leader from Hart Middle School
On May 16th, parent leaders from across the community gathered at Gateway DC, the new demonstration center located in the heart of Ward 8, to participate in TTP’s second Parent Leadership Conference of the school year. While their children attended a fun and educational field trip at the Smithsonian National Zoo, leaders had the chance to network with other parents and discuss some of the most important issues at their schools.
After introductions and a few icebreakers, we started off the day with parents reflecting on their individual leadership styles. They identified their personal strengths and the ways they can use these strengths to make a difference in their communities. Then, a visit from Janel George, a representative from the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, gave parents a chance to discuss discipline in their children’s schools. Janel discussed school pushout and some of the problems associated with “zero-tolerance” discipline policies. She stressed the important role that parents play in schools when it comes to handling these issues, and parents discussed some of the best ways to communicate with their children’s teachers, principals, and administrators.
While parents shared their ideas, students had their own chance to explore a resource in their community—a field trip to the National Zoo! Our wonderful volunteers led small groups of students, all wearing their neon green TTP shirts, to their favorite exhibits. Students particularly loved the Asia Trail, where they got to see not only Bao Bao the baby panda and her parents, but a red panda, sloth bears, and many more creatures. Everyone saw something different and left with exciting stories and facts to share with their parents.
Back at Gateway DC, parents separated into groups focused on one of four topics: starting a school garden, forming a parent leadership group, bullying prevention, and technology access. At the end of the session, parents resolved to join PTA, bring technology to their student’s classrooms, and create gardens. With these ambitious projects, TTP knows our parent leaders will have a fantastic, impactful year ahead of them.