“What do you expect? The parents aren’t around,” is a phrase that I heard thrown around a lot while growing up in Chula Vista.
The complaints about involvement were not just about the parents, they were about the community as a whole.
“People just aren’t involved.”
“The community is too busy to support.”
“5% of the students in the school do 90% of the work that it takes to keep things running.”
Even though I have heard complaints about other aspects of education in Chula Vista many times, complaints about parents were seen as root problems. I had thoughts about parent involvement too, throughout the years as I worked in the after-school programs in National City, or during my brief time as a high school teacher in Chula Vista.
I can clearly remember times kids were picked up “way too late” or times the parents seemed to “not care” that the kids were not doing well.
I have blindly believed that non-involvement, especially from the parents is the “problem” with our schools.
Now that I am experiencing the educational system from the perspective of a parent, I am realizing that I, along with others, have been focusing on the wrong thing. We are noticing the empty chairs, and we are noticing the missed parent-teacher conferences.
Can we now notice the filled chairs and the well-executed conferences?
Visit Vista Square in the mornings, and you will find tables full of kids having breakfast, accompanied by loving adults who care about them. You will find adults helping kids open their juice box, picking up that piece of trash that was going to fly away, tucking their homework into their backpacks. Whatever action these adults are taking doesn’t really matter, what matters is that they are there. I SEE them.
I don’t know what the statistics show, but I do know that rain or shine, there is a crowd outside of the school, waiting for their little babies to get out of class.
It’s not just the parents either. Grandmothers are showing up during school making sure their grandkids have their glasses and their eyedrops. Older cousins, grandpas, aunts, and uncles are there too, if you look, you see them. That soccer game? There were lots of parents there.
A couple of weeks ago, I had the pleasure of being invited to an awards assembly. I was proud of the kids being recognized, but I was overwhelmed by the parents that I saw there in support. We had an event in the middle of a workday, in the middle of the week, and community members were able to be there to recognize their children.
Vista Square Viking parents, I see you, just like you see me. Thank you for being there.
If you are an involved Comadre who shows up at your child’s school, and constantly see other parents there too, please let us know in the comments.
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