Parent participation by necessity: The secret to success?
As some of who who follow this group knows, my son is attending 1st grade at a small Catholic school in San Francisco. It's a modest school in the Mission District that many people in the city know about. It traditionally serves poor and working class students from the Mission and Western Addition neighborhoods. As a result, it doesn't have the prestige or waiting list like the better know Saint Brendans, Stuart Hall or Notre Dame, but academically, it's a powerhouse that regularly churns out graduates who find their ways into the best high schools in the area and colleges in the state. But is its low overall budget the secret to its success?
A few nights ago at the parent advisory council meeting (the equivalent to the PTA), the PE teacher/athletic director/4th grade basketball coach asked for someone to volunteer to keep time at hone games when he was away with his team. A call was also put out for more parents to help with the concession stands. In many cases at this school, if a parent doesn't help, something might not get done. I'm not by any means advocating that budgets be stripped. I actually wish we could afford many of the things that wealthier schools have. But does this kind of imperative to be there for your child's school a secret to helping kids get ahead?