dorothy-bendross-mindingall_web.jpgRecently, a false rumor regarding the closing of public schools Charles R. Drew Elementary and Holmes Elementary circulated around the Miami-Dade County community. Strong parental response to this incident provides evidence that the community needs to get more involved on issues pertaining to education. This is a direct result of not having first-hand information. Neither school is slated to close.

The parents of this community are the most influential when heavily engaged in their children’s school. I have had the opportunity to experience this first-hand as a former principal. There needs to be a stronger presence of parents in regards to education.

Part of the school district’s responsibility is to keep the community involved on school-focused decisions.

The collaborative relationship between schools, parents, the district and other community members benefits children in the long run. Parental involvement can not only give us a perspective from the community’s point of view but can also help all parties reach better solutions to controversial policies and procedures.

There are many ways to stay involved. One includes attending the monthly meetings of the Miami-Dade County School Board. All parents have the opportunity to sign up to speak at these events, giving them the chance to
express themselves to their assigned district School Board member.

Even though each district representative can be reached by phone, letter or email, these events openly discuss matters that directly impact schools.

Also, becoming a member of the Parent Teacher Association (PTA) strengthens parental influence.

These parents gather on a monthly basis to address educational, health and social issues relevant to each child’s school. This allows parents to share their input on current matters at hand and network with teachers and other parents on the same interest of education.

Another opportunity for parents to get involved is to become a member of their children’s school Educational Excellence School Advisory Council (EESAC). This committee is the sole body responsible for final decision-making related to on-site school improvement and accountability. Parents on a committee of their child’s school can assist in making decisions in areas such as school funding and initiatives, helping to chose the proper guidelines for that school’s academic plan.

I want the parents of District 2 to be well informed.

It is very important to stay engaged in the matters within each school district. Parents can start small by building relationships with their children’s teachers, guidance counselors, school administrators and regional directors. Setting up appointments with these individuals will keep them updated on the school’s progress and future activities.

Our students deserve high-quality education and it is through the relationship between schools and parents that this happens. Even though I am a great advocate for the wider community, I am an even greater advocate with parent participation from District 2.

Dorothy Bendross-Mindingall is the District 2 member of the Miami-Dade County School Board.