In August each year for the past several years, Lower Merion Township School District has a meeting to discuss cultural proficiency and look for ways to build a more culturally proficient school district. Each school in the district is represented at the table. At each school’s table are two administrators from the school, a teacher and a parent. This was the second year in a row I was invited to attend this very important meeting. I was honored to be invited by both my daughter’s high school and my other children’s elementary school. I chose to sit with the elementary school after the principal specifically telephoned me, asking me if I would come and sit with the elementary school again.
Last year at the start of the meeting, the Lower Merion School District Superintendent, Christopher McGinley told the group he wanted to eliminate the achievement gap between black and white students before he retired and he did not want to wait 5, 10 or 15 years to retire. I, as a black parent, was excited by those words and wanted to do what I could to help him achieve his goal.One of my greatest joys is that as part of the parents meeting that came from last year’s meeting an idea that my husband and I had turned into this summer’s successful summer book club. The summer book club was open to all students in all grades at the school. There was a very good level of participation from minority students. What this means is that instead of falling behind this summer, this group of kids read a book, comprehended it, talked about it and participated in activities about what they read. Think about it, kids of all grade levels, races, economic levels got together three times over the course of the summer and together they learned, socialized and had fun.