All schools have a support structure that keeps them running efficiently. I call the support structure the Four Pillars of a School District. Those pillars are – administration (principals, superintendents, and guidance counselors), students, students’ parents, and teachers.
It is very easy to understand how administrators, teachers, and students are part of the support structure of a successful district, but sometimes parents don’t understand how much influence they have on the success of their school.
Being a band director gives me the opportunities to work very close with parents in my booster organizations. In my Band Boosters I get to see the best of the best when if comes to parents supporting a school program, but I have also seen some of the worst.
The first school that I ever taught at had a very unstable pillar when it came to parents supporting the school and the band program. It wasn’t that I didn’t have the support of the majority of the parents, it was only a few parents.
The Old Guard
These parents were considered the “old guard”. When I arrived there were only three parents who ran the booster group and they were used to controlling everything. As my program grew more parents became involved and the original three parents saw their power become diluted.
The peak of these few parents battling me and the majority of the newly involved parents came when the band was preparing to attend a trip to a bowl game. The parents had raised enough money for each student to have $100 reduced from their trip price.
The “old guard” parents felt the money should not be given to the students but should be kept in the band booster general fund. When it came up for a vote to use the money raised to help the students attend the trip the motion passed with only three opposed to the motion.
These parents were more concerned with the ability to control and have their way openly voted against helping the very students that the parent organization was founded to help. Fortunately, the more parents that became involved the easier it was to fight the battles that helped the majority of the students and not the few.
Pillars of Support
You are a good parent. You may not be perfect, but since you are taking the time to read this that means you are working to become the best parent you can be. I want to help show you how you can be a strong supporting pillar of your child’s school.
If you are a strong and active supporter it will protect the programs you child loves and doesn’t let any parents who are the “old guard” set an agenda that isn’t in the best interest of children.
Over the course of this week I will be posting about how you, as a parent can help fight things like Parent Pride, become a partner in your child’s success, and strengthen the parent pillar of your school district using consistency, contingency, compassion and courage.
Keep in mind, as your teachers build great programs for your children they need strong pillars to be the framework of their success for your child and it is difficult to worry about little details like paint color in a house when you keep tearing down walls to make sure your frame is sound.