The Cherry Leaf
Sunday, July 24, 2011
The Cherry Leaf
Whether it's an old-fashioned ditto-mastered newsletter mailed to parents or a classroom blog, reaching out to families is one critical element for school success.
The leadership of Cherry Road School have always understood this. One of the first things Marion Parsons did when the new school was finished in 1927 was to establish The Mother's Club.
In 1932, a school newspaper called The Cherry Leaf began publication. Its masthead declared that it was "Published by the Pupils of Cherry Road School--School District No.1, Town of Geddes." Using it as a tool to teach children about running a business and managing funds, ads were sold to support the cost of printing and postage. Student reporters shared news and events. They wrote about fundraising luncheons, the advent of a new scoutmaster; purchase of new sports equipment, glee club, and drama club news. The Cherry Leaf had a staff of 11 student editors by its second edition in December of 1932. Lloyd Mitchell, as student Editor-in-Chief, used the metaphor of the stages of an acorn growing into a mighty oak tree as a comparison to that of "...a boy or girl through their life in school....if they don't start out right they won't end up right."
I've discovered in my extensive research into the history of Cherry Road School, through my many conversations with alumni, that students who attended from 1926 through the 1950s credit much of their success to the start they received at Cherry Road School. It was the strong element of parental involvement that motivated them in years to come. It was the parents' partnership with teachers and administration that kept them on the straight and narrow when they were in school....no room to play one side against the other. The adults were united, but according to the stories that by now have been re-told hundreds of times, they were fair. If a kid suffered a consequence, they knew they had it coming.
Many have told me that because of the strong foundation of parent involvement, this school felt like a family. And the students didn't want to let the family down, so everyone tried their hardest to do their best. Some of the most interesting stories are the pranks that were played by the kids who knew if they were caught, what the outcome would be...one alumni put it this way: "...if I had been caught, there would have been nothing left of me put a dark puddle on the sidewalk." They accepted what was right and what was wrong and had a great time trying to see what they could get away with. Each accepted their punishment when it came. They knew their parents would never defend them against the teachers. Imagine. Teaching in a supportive and supported environment.