On the blogs: green and safe schools in Oregon Senate

Dennis Newman reports on his Natural Oregon blog that two bills are working their way through the Oregon Senate that limit the use of toxic pesticides and cleaning products in schools. Links to contact committee members are provided.

Steve Rawley published PPS Equity from 2008 to 2010, when he moved his family out of the district.

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Parent involvement brainstorm

I believe that relationships are crucial to learning. Parent involvement can take many forms and honoring any and all contributions is key. While it is important to do all you can to improve education for your child you have an opportunity to help another child as well. Your child benefits, another child benefits, and you are modeling humanity and giving for your child. Parents bring different strengths and gifts to the table and PTA’s and parent leadership must foster an inclusive environment where all contributions matter big or small.

In most, if not all, classrooms there are children that are abused, neglected, ignored, or just plain lonely. Loneliness is something that cuts across all walks of life; we’ve all been there. Pervasive loneliness affects self-esteem, learning, and status. Heap on abuse, neglect, and being ignored and lack of self-determination is a given.

One teacher in a classroom of 25+ is going to have a hard time caring for all these kids as individuals. I respect that a teacher must have professional detachment for their own self-care; it is tragic what some children must endure and a teacher must have a thick skin to continue to do the work. The mission to reduce classroom overcrowding and reform education must run parallel to increased parent involvement. In a classroom of 25+ you only need one to a few self-starters to improve the environment and build relationships with all the kids. A parent in my daughter’s classroom shared with me how excited her son is when another parent volunteers. I would like to generate dialogue on the benefits of increased parental involvement, identify barriers, how do we make it inclusive and welcoming for all parents, and what can we do for those kids that are lonely, abused, neglected, and ignored?

I would like to increase the challenge by asking what can we do for the parents that don’t get involved? How can we inspire them and foster unconditional positive regard for them and show them how they can share? Some parents we can’t change but we can still help inspire their kids.

Stephanie Hunter is a behavior consultant and the parent of a student at Ockley Green. She is active in local and statewide advocacy for children and adults with disabilities, which she writes about on her blog Belonging Matters.

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