SPECIAL EDITION: Why you should come to Parent Pride? By Magaly, K. Smith Parent
Hello, my name is Magaly Fernandez, not “Maggie”, not “Magoli” or “Magly”, yes, it’s Magaly. The reason I emphasize this is because this was one of the many things I learned during one of our many amazing meetings at Katherine Smith Elementary every Wednesday called “Parent Pride”. In this meeting, our principal explained to us how our students were doing a PBL (project) about “My Name, My Identity”, which I had not given much thought. I always believed that my name was hard to pronounced, and it was ok for people to mispronounce it or call me something more comfortable to their understanding; not any more. This project was a perfect opportunity to have some good discussion with all my children. We also shared name stories with other parents during Parent Pride.
Well, now that we have that clear, I want to share with you a little more about Parent Pride meetings. Every Wednesday morning, right after dropping off our children, our school host us parents with a warm welcome and some coffee and treats kicking our morning to a great start! I absolutely think this is a great way to know what is going on in our school and strengthens our communication with our principal and between us parents. We have translation in Spanish and Vietnamese, so everyone is on the same page. We are always aware of resources, classes and materials that are helpful to us parents in many aspects:
- what projects our kids our learning with small presentations by them,
- volunteer opportunities to enhance our collaboration skills and getting to know other parents,
- knowing our rights with visits from SIREN and School Board Trustees Sylvia Alvarez, and
- listening to our needs as parents with interactive activities to receive feedback.
Another thing that I really love about these meetings is that our school doesn’t just think about our children and family needs in school, but also outside and around our community. It is amazing how by attending these meetings, we as parents have gotten the opportunity to come together and fight for better safety for our children to walk to and from school with “Walk-N-Roll”, “La Caminata” arranged with Valley Palm Community, and Katherine Smith Parents Safety Committee. It all started at the Parent Pride Meetings, now we have parents and teachers walking with students to school, and I personally feel safer for my children to cross streets without worrying much because drivers are more aware with bigger groups walking together. I had the opportunity to do a walk audit with some road engineers and was able along with a few more parents bring to their attention what we believed were points that needed attention.
It was also in one of our parent meetings where I heard about participating in Parent Teacher Association back in 2015. I was curious in becoming one of the PTA officers, and reached out to Mrs. Barragan, our school community liaison. She encouraged me to run for PTA president. I must admit I was not ready for this challenge, but once my daughter heard about it, there was not much to think about – I was going to run for it! As a result I was elected PTA president for that school year until 2016-2017 school year. This was a great opportunity for me where I learned to communicate, collaborate, contribute, think and work just as the school also promotes these skills (aka The Habits) to use in everyday life. I am truly blessed I received this opportunity, I was able to connect with teachers and students and give back a bit by volunteering in PTA. I am no longer PTA president this year, but I am still involved in it, and I am able to let parents know at Parent Pride of events that our PTA is organizing.
It really is amazing everything that happens during our Parent Pride Meetings, I have four kids now at K. Smith, one graduating this year to 7th grade, but my youngest in kindergarten. That means I have many years, if God permits it, to attend every Wednesday our meetings.
I look forward to see what I will learn or where I can participate or even make new friends in Parent Pride!
P.S. If you have the opportunity to attend one of our meetings, I recommend it. I assure you, you will not be disappointed and will walk out learning something new.
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