A Parent’s Responsibility and Privilege

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Back in the day, when we actually went to school, I had a really profitable meeting with one of our school parents.  Well, let me clarify: it was just over a week ago before we were hit by weather. 🙂

I don’t like to have meetings where I have no clue as to what we will be meeting about, so I asked beforehand and was told it was “big picture” kind of stuff. This was not entirely clear, but it was enough information to give me the idea that we were going to be talking about the future of our school- something I greatly enjoy discussing!

The CCS dad showed up on time, but was noticeably distracted. I asked him about it and he shared that he had a bit of a nightmare scenario going on at that moment at his business. I wondered for a moment if he would bail on the meeting, but he did not and hunkered down in the armchair in my office.

He was loaded with questions- most about the future of CCS and the implications for his children- and we talked for about an hour. I felt like we had an excellent Q&A time and I am very thankful that he made the time to talk with me. I think that the meeting was foundational to his family’s commitment to CCS over the long term.

 As he left my office, there was one pressing thought on my mind: I wish that every CCS parent would take the time to talk to me about our school. Why? Because every CCS parent should be intensely concerned about the end product at CCS. In other words, this dad wanted to know what the educational experience would look like from elementary school through high school so he could discern whether or not an investment in those years at CCS was worth it.

Let me be clear. I am not suggesting that parents make appointments with me to discuss a particular test or grade that their child received. That is for the child’s teacher, and if not satisfied with the interaction, there is the Headmaster, and maybe me after that. However, I am strongly suggesting that parents talk to me about the larger questions and especially concerns that are based on limited first hand information.

For example, questions about STEM (really, only 20% of the high school students are in STEM? I thought that was all you cared about), questions about athletics (are we really starting football? I was told that you hated football), questions about our philosophy on homework levels in middle and high school (if it is a lot in middle school, I assume it is more in high school), questions about growing the high school (you only want straight A students, right?), questions about hiring teachers (you only hire men for the high school, right?), and so on.

Unfortunately, it is rare that a parent will ask me these kinds of questions. Parents typically ask other parents, who have heard from other parents, who have no first hand experience or knowledge about the matter, nor do they have a child in that part of the school.

If you think you are hearing a little frustration in this short missive, you are right. Here’s the deal: we work so hard to have a great school, but we take constant hits to those efforts from inaccurate information that is passed about the school community. It does not have to be that way! It not only hurts our school as a whole, but it detracts from your responsibility as a parent to make solid decisions about the education of your child.

So, thank you to parent X who came and shared concerns and questions, and an invitation to you to come see me. I’m not too busy to meet with you; it speaks to the core of my job every day! Meeting with school leadership to learn all of the facts for your child’s future is both your responsibility and privilege.