Yesterday morning, I got to sit down in what has become an annual ritual — the approval of the Parents Council wish list. Each year, the Parents Council reaches out to teachers, coaches and administrators to ask the simple question: is there anything you need to enhance your program? And each year, they are able to fund almost every single one of those requests. That has included centrifugal force apparati for the physics labs, whiteboards for the math classrooms, hitting nets for the baseball team and pasta rollers for the FACS room. I know of no other school in which the fundraising of parents has such an immediate and direct impact on students’ day-to-day learning experience.
But the support doesn’t end there. Last year, the Parents Council completed their multi-year pledge to the STAR campaign, the result of a leadership gift that supplied the funds to name one of the new biology labs in honor of longtime teacher and principal, the late Elaine Childress. Immediately, the Parents Council made a new leadership commitment to the athletic enhancements project, which is why we were able to break ground this fall on the new Clayton Road parking lot — an enhancement that will benefit everyone when it is completed in December. Our hope is that this will soon be followed by improvements to the turf field, a new natatorium and a new squash facility.
While we all owe a debt of gratitude to the parent volunteers who engage in these fundraising projects, what is equally important is the way our parents help all of us learn more about parenting and more about our kids. Every arm of the Parents Council has a huge impact on the quality and care of our community. Consider:
- The unparalleled programming on adolescence, parenting, health and wellness provided by Family Network;
- The critical on-the-ground support provided by the library, the bookstore, the Lost & Found and The Producers;
- Very special events like the Blue & Gold Dance, the auction, and the seniors' final picnic dinner;
- The wide reach into the greater St. Louis community by Potpourri, Summer Opportunities Fair and Unique Boutique;
- And, of course, the ongoing TLC for all of us by grade chairs and Hospitality.
On top of all of this, we have the Community & Equity Partnership, which organizes vital cultural competency events.
I hope all new families will come out to a Parents Council meeting, a Family Network presentation, or a Community & Equity Partnership program. Just as we ask all of our students to try a multitude of sports, art forms, clubs, and classes to discover what it is that they love and what they might devote themselves to, I hope all parents will try a multitude of parent programs and discover the best way to connect with, learn from, and contribute to the community.