We celebrated Mother’s Day over the weekend, and wanted to share what three Green Dot Public Schools mothers are doing to improve their communities. It’s important to recognize these women and their daily contributions to our organization.
It is not surprising that there is no one thing, or silver bullet, that can improve our public education system. Even, if you Google “education silver bullet” what you’ll find is, literally, that there is no education silver bullet.
Sadly, it’s true. At Green Dot Public Schools, we know this too well. But there is a proven arsenal that we can use to attack persistently low student outcomes, lingering education inequities, and the achievement gap. One of the most effective elements of this arsenal are involved, active parents, which is why our community engagement teams work so hard to nurture the organized power of our parents to drive positive change in our neighborhoods.
“I feel that it is very important for other parents to get involved because we all have concerns about what’s happening at our child’s school and this is one way to come together and discuss our concerns and try to make positive changes,” Vickey Vaughn, whose daughter attended Alain Leroy Locke College Preparatory Academy in LA’s Watts neighborhood, explains about her ongoing involvement with Green Dot’s United Parents. “I would like to continue my work and improve the economic and social development of my community.”
Community improvement through involvement
Manika Glasper, who has two children in Fairley High School in Memphis, echoes Vickey’s focus on improving her community through the increased involvement of parents.
“I just want the parents to know that they can make the difference in simply being involved in their children’s educational process,” Manika says of the change she hopes to see in her community.
Enrolled in a 10-week training sessions with Memphis Lift, a Green Dot partner that helps parents become better advocates for their children. Manika is hoping to work with schools on engaging more productively with parents.
“If I could encourage every parent to know the importance of what their involvement, their voice and their mere presence could make on the success of their child as a student, this would be a better world,” she says.
Enrichment for the whole family
Keisha Mitchell, whose son attends Ánimo Phillis Wheatley Charter Middle School in South Los Angeles, joined United Parents after moving with her son to California. It took just one meeting for her to recognize the impact United Parents (UP) could make.
“After the first UP meeting, I was sure I wanted to be a part of this collective of parents who were actively taking steps to improve the community by addressing barriers outside the classroom that could impede the progress of young impressionable children,” she says.
“I believed in my heart this was an opportunity to be an example to my son– to be part of the solution for positive change in the community instead of taking a passive position on issues that plague neighborhoods.”
Two years later, Keisha has seized that opportunity and transitioned out of her longtime career in the banking industry and into the role of a community organizer for the nonprofit Parent Revolution. “Organizing has enriched my family’s life for the better, and I am forever grateful for the opportunity and hope to be a part of UP,” she says. “Being part of the United Parents Delegates Assembly at the Los Angeles Convention Center was a pivotal point in this amazing journey into community organizing, I have learned so much in the last two years.”
Like Keisha, Manika’s experience of getting involved in her children’s education has led to a dramatic shift. After 17 years with Federal Express, she’s going back to school to become a teacher and, she hopes, a school leader. “I’ve recently had this change of heart because I’ve experienced the effect that I have on students just from interacting with them briefly, and on occasion- I can’t imagine how effective I could be on a day-to-day basis,” she explains.
“I’m excited,” she adds.
We like to think of Manika, Vickey and Keisha as “Super Moms.” We think it is pretty obvious why.