When my three children started attending school in the Jersey City School District, I began my involvement just at one school by attending PTA meetings and eventually starting my own Girl Scout Troop there.
One day I saw an advertisement seeking Board Members for the district and I decided to try it out not really know much about it. I saw an opportunity to help our schools. A couple of years later and few more tries at running unsuccessfully, I found myself fully vested as a parent advocating for better foods, facilities, undesirable trailers and the whole movement of standardized testing.
Being active in the schools and community has helped to do that. It takes a lot of patience, persistence and not giving up on what you want to fight for. At times it can be hard but when you eventually hit a stride it’s totally worth it. Especially because it’s for all the children.
I encourage parents all the time to join the fight either by social media, emails or even a phone call. Parents have so much power in decision making and, if we work together, imagine what can be done.
Speak up at board meetings – Speaking at meetings about your concerns tells our board members that there’s an issue that needs resolving.
Getting to know your community – Talking to parents and community allows you to work together to make improvements in your schools.
Write letters, make phone calls, use social media for your cause – Communication is key. Social media, writing letters and phone calls allow parents to speak up.
Be prepared and read up on what your fighting for i.e. board documents – In advance of meetings do your homework by reading the public board documents because you get a better idea of what is going on. Also if you plan to speak, write up a summary or notes so you can get your point across.
Educate the public – Let others know what you are doing and see if they will help support your cause.
Be a dynamic leader and bring others along with you – Take charge of your cause and invite others to work with you. If you attend a board meeting stand together while you are making your speeches. Together in numbers shows a lot of strength.
Host your own meeting – Start your own parent advocacy group and host meetings where parents and community members can work together to improve the quality of the schools.
Every parent is an advocate for their child and wants what is best for their child/children. If you are interested in getting more involved with your school then I encourage you to attend your monthly PTA or Parent Council meetings as well as monthly Caucus and Board meetings. Get involved and communicate with the Superintendent and Board Members via emails, phone calls or speaking at meetings. By attending meetings I was able to meet many parents just like me that wanted to improve their schools.
So much can be done when you work together for the common good. My cause will always be the children in this district and I will continue to fight to improve our schools. I’m always available to meet with parents and active community members if they have any issues and don’t know where to start.