Feb. 12, 2014
By Tara Cavanaugh
When it comes to a child’s educational success, parent involvement is critical.
That’s the message of a daylong celebration called NAAPID, which stands for National African American Parent Involvement Day. The 19-year-old event was founded by an Ann Arbor educator originally to encourage African American parents to be more involved in their child’s education. Now, the event encourages all parents to take part.
Each AAPS building welcomes parents into classrooms to see their child’s learning in process and to meet with teachers and administrators. Schools also host speakers and arrange educational assemblies during the school day.
“All parents should feel welcome into our schools,” said Dicken Elementary Principal Mike Madison. “And not just for one day, but for every day in the school year. We hope parents who visit us today come back into our school again because they felt welcome.”
Pattengill Elementary hosted speaker Dr. Shayla Griffin, a research fellow at the University of Michigan. She spoke with a large group of parents about the positive effects of multicultural children’s books.
“Her presentation was really inspiring to me,” said parent Betty McMullan, whose children attend Bryant and Pattengill. “I’m going to go out and get some of these books for my kids.”
For parents who are unable to visit their children’s schools during the day, an evening event, called NAAPID at Night, showcases academic achievement and performances by students from Washtenaw County schools. NAAPID at Night was first organized in 2004. This year students from Skyline, Bryant, Milan, Saline, Ypsilanti Community and Lincoln Consolidated schools showed off their talents. (See photo slideshow above.)
“It’s always been a wonderful collaboration across districts, and a celebration of how important it is for our schools, parents and communities to work together to make sure every student reaches his or her potential,” said AAPS Curriculum Coordinator of Fine Arts Robin Bailey at this year’s NAAPID at Night event, which was held at Skyline High School. Student art was on display in the atrium as the Community High School Jazz Band Ensemble.
“We know that it is a fundamental partnership between home and school and community that supports our students’ success,” said AAPS Superintendent Dr. Jeanice Swift. “We also know how important it is for our schools to be open and welcoming to all parents. Not just on special occasions, like the beautiful NAAPID events we’ve seen across the community today and tonight, but also to be welcoming, warm, connecting places on every day of the school year.”
“The time is now,” said NAAPID founder Joseph Dulin, Sr. “In our changing times, it is so important that parents be involved in their children’s education. We need education more so today than any time in the history of our country.
“Don’t forget, parents: You are somebody. The schools are there for you to assist you in educating your children. And that day, Parent Involvement Day, is so key to the future of our communities.”
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