by Lisa M. Sheldon, Guest Writer
Tuesday, Nov. 9, Calhoun Middle/High School hosted
its annual fall open house/parent teacher conferences from 4 to 7 p.m.
Faculty members were in their rooms ready to receive parents, and the
administration was roaming the halls to greet families as they arrived
and assist those in need of direction. The commons area held some great
displays from Minnie Hamilton’s School-Based Health Clinic and the Gear
Up Program, with lots of free stuff to give away. Spanish classes were
having an international dinner to raise money for upcoming field trips
and the art classes had great displays in the back hallway.
So what was missing? In a word . . . parents.
I have a child in middle school and one in high
school, so I was in both parts of the school between 4 and 5:30 p.m. and
had 12 teachers to see. I had anticipated it taking much longer, but
there were no lines to wait in at any class, because there were so few
parents in attendance. Parents that were there are the same handful I
see every spring and every fall. Where are the rest of them?
When I was at the Friday night varsity football
games, I saw all sorts of parents; bunches and bunches of parents whose
students did not even play football. It was great that they were there
to support the team, but where are they when it comes time to support
their own child’s academic career.
This is not a new problem. I have observed it for
years, but the contrast this year was remarkable. So, why is this
happening? I did some investigating and have discovered a couple of
reasons that maybe we can all work on together.
First and foremost is communication. The only place
I could find it mentioned was in the calendar of events in this
newspaper, simply because the editor follows the schedule that is sent
out at the beginning of the year. No notes went home. No announcement on
the radio. Reminders are easy to issue and helpful to busy families.
Second, and just as important, is a lack of
interest. From listening to parents and family members in the community
and at sporting events, I get the distinct impression that non-sport
school functions are just of no interest to most parents. They are seen
as a bother or negative obligation to be avoided. When did this happen
There are students at the middle/high school who
are achieving or not achieving at every level, and they all have parents
or guardians. How are these children to be praised or helped or
reprimanded or worked with in any way if no one at home even knows what
is happening for the 35+ hours a week they are in the care of the
Calhoun County public school system? Everyone has an opinion about the
school system and is quick to voice it, but how many really know what is
going on inside those walls. We obviously do not take advantage of
opportunities we have to find out.
Our responsibility to keep lines of communication
open with our children’s educators does not end when they leave
elementary school. We all have busy lives filled with work and family
and home obligations, but it is not the schools responsibility to raise
our children. Do we as parents have the right to complain about the
education and/or upbringing our children are or are not receiving if we
refuse to be active participants in that process?
Publisher Helen Morris had a second knee
replacement last Friday. She is doing physical therapy twice a day and
is recuperating at the home of her son Joe and Sandy Morris in