Engaging Families for Student Success

Looking back on Black History Month: Celebrating our Parent Leaders

March 21, 2017

As we reflect on Black History Month, Turning the Page is excited to share the success of two Parent Leader initiatives which served to celebrate Black history, stories, and community strength within Southeast DC and beyond. Parent Leaders from Garfield Elementary School and Kramer Middle School collaborated to present learning experiences for their children and the broader school community, including a panel on the future of Black education and a trip to the new National African American History and Culture Museum.

On January 12th, 10 Kramer Parent Leaders acted as chaperones to over 40 Kramer Middle School students for a trip to the National African American History and Culture Museum. At a previous PTA meeting, parents had discussed the possibility of visiting the museum and believed this experience would be advantageous for them as leaders and also for their school community.  Kramer Parent Leader, Ms. Shonntia Hinnant, indicated the importance of Kramer students knowing their history and taking pride in themselves. Together, parents, teachers, and students were able to explore the museum for several hours and enjoy a soul-food lunch.

Afterwards, parents were invited to a TTP Parent Leader Group; not only to reflect on the day, but also to think of the power of stories and how their own personal narratives can be used to leverage relationships in their school community. Parents weighed in on the beauty and resiliency that is captured in the National African American History and Culture Museum and how it represents that of the Anacostia community.

On February 23rd, Garfield Parent Leaders partnered with PBIS, Turning the Page, Children’s Focus Charities, and the Garfield School Community to organize a community panel discussion on “The Impact of a Public Education: Is it Adequate Enough?” followed by a Soul Food Feast and Celebration. Larry Miller, WUSA-TV New Anchor, moderated a panel including member-elect of the DC State Board of Education Markus Batchelor, Ward 8 Councilmember Trayon White, Instructional Superintendent Harry Hughes, and Marcia Cole, Technology Instructional Specialist at District of Columbia Public Schools.

Over 60 members of the community were in attendance to listen to these leaders respond to the inequitable distribution of funding among the DC wards. Ms. Cole gave examples of schools in other wards receiving updated technology while Ward 8 schools lacked access to basic technological equipment. Mr. Hughes and Mr. White agreed that in order for the Ward 8 community to thrive, people must stand together to ensure their students can attain educational excellence. The Garfield Parent Leaders responsible for organizing the event were proud to have offered their school community the chance to hear from those who are working to improve the quality of their city’s public education.

Turning the Page appreciates the work of our DC Parent Leaders and looks forward to supporting their future initiatives!