Thursday, March 24, 2011
The Importance of Parent Participation
There's been a lot of chatter in the news lately about who is responsible for a child's success in the classroom. There is a movement gaining momentum across the country that places the blame of failing students squarely on the shoulders of classroom teachers.
Part of the success story of Cherry Road School was parent and community involvement. Marion Parsons formed The Mother's Club in 1929. These women played a key role in letting kids know that their family was part of the school and the school was part of the community. They helped raise money every year for the annual 8th grade trip by serving covered dish lunches in the new school cafeteria. The mothers were an important cog in the wheel that made the school go 'round.
My Aunt Wilma Cole recently sent me an article dated February 2, 1935 from the Syracuse Post Standard. The headline reads: Pupils Honor Mothers at Hobby Show. You can tell that the article held a prominent position in the paper, with a multiple column picture featuring my Aunt Helen Cole and Jacqueline Gallagher.
Calling the event one of the school's gala events of the year, it is described in the article as a combination pet show, hobby show, doll show, and exhibit of cooking and sewing, toys, art, and foreign articles. In the picture, my aunt is holding a cake she has made and for which she won a prize. Jacqueline holds a prize-winning doll entered by Jean Stone. Other prizes in the the doll section went to Pollyann Schwartz; Donald Cole and Donald Beagle won prizes in the toy category. Prizes for drawing were awarded to Billy Dwyer and Donald Crawford. (My Aunt Helen is 14 years-old in the picture. She died this year in her late 80s, as did Donald Cole.)
The hobby show was held in the gym/auditorium and was meant to help raise money for the Mother's Club and to honor their participation in the school. One can tell how sincerely the kids were engaged in the event by the long list of students on the organizing committee, boys and girls alike.
If a student was failing or in trouble, it was an issue for everyone and blame for no one in particular. Mostly the children of Cherry Road School worked hard to do well and honor adults who were part of the larger community. They had a sense that these were people who cared. So they honored The Mother's Club every year and did their best in school. (Not that they didn't have fun and try to get away with things once in a while....they did, and those are some of the most heartwarming stories of all.)
This picture of Miss Parsons and some of the early CRS teachers would have been taken around the time of the newspaper article.