A week before Thanksgiving, Project Coach hosted a pizza party. Teen coaches, parents, teachers from Gerena elementary school, and representatives from community non-profits gathered on a Friday evening to enjoy dinner and to discuss important issues in the Springfield schools.
We talked about how to help children do better in the North End schools. Colton Stovall, a freshman at Commerce High School, explained his point of view that teachers, parents, and the students themselves have to work together so that the student can do well in school. “If one person doesn’t do his part, it just doesn’t happen.” A father of a fourth grader from Gerena elementary school explained his own educational philosophy where teachers and parents should share ideas to provide the best education for children. Bryant Whitsett, a junior at Putnam High School, emphasized that his best teacher were the ones who communicated with his parents. Some even came to his home, or made regular phone calls to establish a strong connection.
The community pizza party provided a forum to make these connections. Teachers talked to their students’ parents in an informal setting. Parents met and spent some time with the teenagers who their children look up to as their coaches. Teachers, parents, and coaches gained a fuller understand of Project Coach by getting to know each other as the people who can contribute to make the program even better.
-Written by Katie Joyce, Redshirt Graduate Fellow