One Parent Resource Center at a time at Monroe

One Parent Resource Center at a time at Monroe

 • February 13, 2013

On Friday I was at Monroe High School. The heavy snow made parking in this congested area even more snarled than usual. Kindly, the adjacent Children’s School (where I found auto refuge) spared me a towing.

Like many Rochester schools, Monroe is a school in transition. It may be academically reconfigured, but no one knows for sure. There are hopes its storied but aging gymnasium will be refurbished, but no one knows for sure. On that very snowy day, student attendance was lower than hoped.

But the mood at Monroe is not grim. For all its challenges, the Monroe administration is doing all it can to do better. For example, Last year Monroe’s Principal Armando Ramirez decided the parents of its students very much needed to be more connected to the school.  One result is the newly opened Parent Resource Center.

Principal Armando Ramirez

When you first enter the school, the first thing you see is a welcoming, well lit room where you will be warmly greeted by the ever ebullient Dillia Olmeda, the Director of the Center. An underutilized storage room was redone. Comfortable chairs were assembled. Fruit and coffee are on the table. An adjacent computer room is fully equipped and ready to go. Books line the shelves of the lending library.

In the Center, Monroe parents come to meet with teachers and staff for just about everything. To talk about their kids, to talk about the school, to talk about how parents can make the school better. Or even just to relax, have a cup of coffee, use the computer, read a book, maybe munch on an apple. If their English is not perfect, the bilingual Mrs. Olmeida is there to help.

Things like Parent Resource Centers don’t make the news often enough. But its places like this that, one step at a time, can keep failing schools from failing. Oh, did I mention there is even now a dedicated parking spot for parents on the Pearl Street side of the school. Make a parking spot and they will come.


About The Author

Welcome to Talker of the Town! My name is David Kramer. I have a Ph.D in English and teach at Keuka College. I am a former and still active Fellow at the Nazareth College Center for Public History and a Storyteller in Residence at the SmallMatters Institute. Over the years, I have taught at Monroe Community College, the Rochester Institute of Technology and St. John Fisher College. I have published numerous Guest Essays, Letters, Book Reviews and Opinion pieces in The New York Times, Rochester Democrat and Chronicle, the Buffalo News, the Rochester Patriot, the Providence Journal, the Providence Business News, the Brown Alumni Magazine, the New London Day, the Boston Herald, the Messenger Post Newspapers, the Wedge, the Empty Closet, the CITY, Lake Affect Magazine and Brighton Connections. My poetry appears in The Criterion: An International Journal in English and Rundenalia and my academic writing in War, Literature and the Arts and Twentieth Century Literary Criticism. Starting in February 2013, I wrote for three Democratic and Chronicle  blogs, "Make City Schools Better," "Unite Rochester," and the "Editorial Board." When my tenure at the D & C  ended, I wanted to continue conversations first begun there. And start new ones.  So we created this new space, Talker of the Town, where all are invited to join. I don’t like to say these posts are “mine.” Very few of them are the sole product of my sometimes overheated imagination. Instead, I call them partnerships and collaborations. Or as they say in education, “peer group work.” Talker of the Town might better be Talkers of the Town. The blog won’t thrive without your leads, text, pictures, ideas, facebook shares, tweets, comments and criticisms.


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