This year, for the first time, my daughter’s new teacher visited our home to welcome us to J.H.S. 50. During the visit, we set goals for our daughter and I was informed of the many programs, services and resources available to us through the school’s partnership with El Puente, an amazing community based organization that has a long history in our community. The visit was a game changer and eased my daughter’s nerves about starting middle school.
For me, working full-time and being the only caregiver at home can make playing an active role in my child’s education a challenge. I know this is true for many J.H.S. 50 parents. However, the J.H.S. 50 community constantly welcomes families to participate however they can – whether it’s welcoming guests at the unveiling event of a new mural, or cheering on the debate team at a competition – and they will even come to you.
J.H.S. 50 is also a Renewal School. I didn’t know what this meant – and once I learned, I realized this meant more opportunity for my daughter. This includes additional supports and services on-site to tackle attendance challenges, address mental health issues and increase academic rigor.
The school has expanded learning time, which means every student has five extra hours of learning time every week. This can include homework help, robotics, writing exercises or drumline.
In addition, we have a debate team, which has won several competitions. The incredibly resilient team – many English Language Learners and newly arrived immigrants – has become increasingly articulate and impressive debaters. Watching their confidence beam at competitions brings our community much joy and pride.
J.H.S. 50’s holistic approach to learning and community engagement has been critical to its growing success in enrollment and student achievement.
The school has been instrumental in my child’s learning as well as my own. As I became more involved at the school, I noticed that my daughter is more engaged in learning. I’m proud of her, and we’ve even grown closer.
J.H.S. 50 embraces parents as partners. I recently attended the Parent Teacher Home Visits Project in Washington D.C. with a team of our school’s teachers, parents and staff. During the conference, I met with dozens of teachers and parents and shared best practices, deepening and strengthening our understanding of the practice to take back and put into practice at our own schools. I returned from the conference feeling empowered and eager to help our teachers for the next round of visits.
Every parent wants their son or daughter to succeed. J.H.S. 50 is making that a reality.
Maria Giron is a parent at J.H.S. 50 John D. Wells in Williamsburg.