Dr. Evans' Message
Historically, there has been a pervasive practice that the only time our teachers and parents communicated was when there was a problem. Likewise, many of our community organizations did not always feel welcome in our schools. Clearly, parents are children’s first teachers. Their involvement in a child’s education significantly increases the likelihood that the child will reach his or her full potential in school and in life. Also, there is great truth behind the words “it takes a village.” Achieving our goals to improve student achievement within a safer school environment would be extremely difficult without the help of our community partners.
I’m pleased to report that through the great work of our Family and Community Engagement department, a top priority area for this district, we have taken major steps towards changing these practices here in Paterson. Earlier this year, we created Parent-Teacher Organizations (PTO) throughout the school district, and the PTO leadership meets with me monthly to address issues and concerns. Still, in order to truly increase family and community engagement at the school and district levels, we needed to address certain barriers in order to provide necessary assistance to our students’ parents. These barriers include computer or internet access, as well as limited understanding of the English language. With the launch of our Parent University, the district now provides classes for parents that are focused on: English as a second language, obtaining a GED, parenting for moms, and computer survival for parents. For more information about these classes, you can visit: www.ppsparents.com
As for our working more closely with our community partners, we have created a Multi-cultural Roundtable and a Community Advisory Roundtable. Through their efforts, we are tackling difficult issues to help create a school culture that appreciates diversity and does not tolerate bullying.
Next on tap, we will be distributing a Grade Level Expectations Guide to help parents understand what a child should be learning at a particular grade level, and how they can monitor their own child’s progress.
This is just the beginning but I hope you agree, it’s a great start. Thank you to our Family & Community Engagement staff for all their hard work; and thank you to our parents and community partners for your continued support.
Donnie W. Evans, Ed.D.
State District Superintendent
Paterson Public Schools