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Entries in school (2)


Does the PTA at Your Child's School Welcome Noncustodial Parents and Stepparents?


We are pleased to be presenting a workshop at the National PTA Convention--"Engaging Non-Custodial Parents and Stepparents"--in June.  In preparation for this presentation, we want to hear from non-custodial parents, stepparents, and PTA volunteers and leaders about their experiences.  In particular, we're interested in the following:

1) If you are a stepparent or noncustodial parent, have you felt welcomed by the PTA at your child’s school?

2) If you are a PTA leader or volunteer, what has been your experience engaging noncustodial parents and stepparents in PTA activities?

We welcome your responses in the comments section.

Co-Parenting Through Tough Times With Art and Love


photo courtesy of Thomas WarmWhen co-parenting dad Kaleb Hill found out his son wasn't doing well in school, he knew immediate action was required. Below, he shares his story with us.

This post is dedicated to my son. I published this on your birthday as a reminder to myself that you’re steady growing into a Black man. Let no one, but you, establish your definition of success for you. I love you.

Nothing is more alarming than a drastic change in your child’s behavior at school when he or she previously enjoyed learning.

My son is currently at the age where most young Black men lose interest in school. When I learned that my son was receiving poor grades, I was more concerned about his emotional well-being than the letter grade. As a student, I experienced the same disinterest in school at the same grade level. I was a straight "A" student eager to learn until social stress took a toll on me. I was diagnosed with a learning disability, but this was not before I was labeled “lazy.” When I heard him described this way for losing interest in school, it cut deep.

Instead of using negative words to describe my son, I took a more compassionate approach. I asked my son if he was still interested in attending college.  He replied “yes.” This wasn’t a time to berate or belittle him. This was my time to listen to him express himself. We have always had an open line of communication. I learned from our conversation that he is still passionate about science and math, but he wasn’t as enthusiastic about reading or writing. His tone of voice showed signs of depression. Although he didn’t say it, I knew it. I also knew his mother wouldn’t take him to a therapist, if I suggested it. Art and music has worked wonders for me managing my own depression, so I decided to send him some art supplies for his birthday. I know from our time together that he likes to draw. I worked out my schedule in a manner that made time to video chat with him every night and do different art assignments to help him express himself. During this time, I also make sure he does the work his teacher assigns him too.

I’ve learned to bypass all scripted forms of parenting a long time ago. I’m not here to micromanage his life. Everything I do for him is rooted in love. I think back to the days when he was an infant who cried out for me when he felt insecure. The tears have dried but his failing grades are definitely a cry for help. Parenting is a teaching and learning experience for both parties involved. I had to watch the cues my son gave me and adjust my behavior in a way that benefited him.

He knows his mother and I have high expectations, and we stress the importance of formal and self-education. He wishes to attend college, but he hasn’t connected the importance of discipline as a 5th grade student to what he will need once he reaches higher education.

Too many Black male voices are muted by stereotypes and statistics. If you’re raising one, now is not the time to throw caution to the wind.

What does success look like for a young Black male navigating a world ruled by systematic oppression?