By Christine Miller,
Ward 1 PLE Board Member
Growing up, I was fortunate enough to have opportunities to live in multiple countries and among many different cultures. This has not only shaped my worldview but has also exposed me to a variety of educational styles and systems. For that reason, when my family was deciding where our kids would go to school, I wanted a school for my children that would instill those same values. Luckily enough, we lived close to a DC Public school that offered a great dual language program. This was important to me because it meant I could walk my children to school, talk about the things they are seeing, and allow them to engage with our neighborhood and all that entails.
Four years ago, I got more involved in my children’s education and started volunteering at their school, Bancroft Elementary. Eventually, I started to take on more leadership roles for our Local School Advisory Team and am currently serving as President of our PTO. Through these roles, my engagement began to extend outside of our school and include working with local businesses, organizations serving youth in our community, other Ward 1 schools through the Ward 1 Education Collaborative, and now PAVE. This evolving role also included running for a seat on our local Advisory Neighborhood Commission, which I now sit on and chair the Education Committee.
The changes our city has seen over the years, the same challenges our growing communities face – shifts in demographics, socio-economic and racial divides, as well as needing to meet the needs of those who aren’t always sitting at the table – are reflected in our schools. But, what I have seen is that every parent/guardian wants to support their child, and we all ultimately want the same – we want our kids to be happy, have choices and opportunities, and have the chance to be the best at whatever they decide to do.
Our educators are being asked to do a lot beyond teaching and their successes depend on active and engaged families who can support the work needed to achieve the very best for students. Parent voices are also invaluable in making sure that the type and quality of education reflects the needs, culture, and values of our parents and families.
I learned about PAVE through a variety of educational networks and youth advocacy groups. PAVE has been a great resource to help me build on my current work in the community. It’s been invaluable in helping expand my scope of understanding but most importantly, by assuming responsibility for initiating and organizing meetings and people, I can focus on what’s important – advocating for our children and getting our voices out for our city’s leaders to hear!
This article was first published on www.dcpave.org