• 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.
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.
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