by Lori Morrow
What does parent engagement mean to you? When my son started kindergarten eight years ago, parent engagement meant walking him to class each day, assisting during class parties, and occasionally volunteering at a PTA event. Over the years, my level of involvement grew as I took on the role of PTA President during my son’s 2nd and 3rd grade years. I began to attend school board meetings and hearings, and I became a familiar face to many of our local elected representatives. Now with children in elementary and middle school, I am reminded daily that parent engagement shifts as our children mature and become more independent. I no longer walk my 7th grader to class, but it is still important to communicate with his teachers and understand how his school functions.
Last fall, after 8 years of involvement and advocacy, I was nominated for the PGCPS Parent and Community Advisory Council (PCAC) by my Board of Education representative, and in March of 2016, I received my official appointment letter to a 2-year term on the council.
Officially the PCAC is tasked with providing “counsel and advice on issues pertaining to student academic achievement, parental and community engagement and public perception of PGCPS.” That leaves a lot of latitude for the Council Co-Chairs and members to set priorities and topics based on the current issues in our school system. Recent topics of discussion include specialty programs, Parent Engagement Office initiatives, communication about school consolidations, and school safety.
The Council meets monthly with Board of Education Chair Dr. Segun Eubanks, Board Member Curtis Valentine, and staff from the Parent and Community Engagement and Board of Education offices. Meetings are held on the second Monday of the month at 6 pm in the Sasscer Administration Building, in the small room that adjoins the Board Room. Meetings are public; guests are welcome to attend and observe meetings, but space is limited.
As members come to the Council with diverse backgrounds and experience, PCAC meetings are an opportunity to share information and opinions from our communities in a way that could directly impact PGCPS Board of Education actions and policies.
I look forward to my work with the PCAC and the Board of Education, and I believe that together we can continue to increase parent engagement in PGCPS schools. I welcome comments below (or emails through firstname.lastname@example.org) if you have questions or topics you believe the council should address.