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Mount Vernon City School District Parents Stream into Schools for Parent Involvement Day

The Mount Vernon City School District hosted its annual Parent Involvement Day on Monday, February 10th. Schools opened their doors to parents to spend the day with their children and see how they learn in the classroom.

“Parent Involvement Day is a long-standing tradition in the Mount Vernon City School District,” said Superintendent Dr. Kenneth R. Hamilton, who visited several schools. “For parents to make a connection with their children inside the classroom shows the students a level of support for academic success that ultimately produces a better outcome for the students.”

At Edward Williams School, Principal Dr. Crystal Waterman delivered to parents and guardians her welcoming remarks. “We’re super excited about everything we have to share with you today,” she said. “Today you will get a true glimpse of what we do here.”

Leanne McLean helped her son, Jahdane Desouza, paint hearts for a Valentine’s Day project in his first-grade art class.

“I just wanted to come see what they do in the classroom and make myself aware of what’s going on with the kids,” McLean said. “And, it’s important to let the teachers know that we care and want to be informed about what’s going on.”

McLean is a fee-for-service ABA therapist. “My job is flexible but I did miss work for this. So, when I’m not there, I’m not getting paid,” she said. “But, it’s important to be here.”

The schools had parents come to classrooms. Most of the schools hosted a parent breakfast/lunch, welcome remarks by the principals, student performances, school tours, guest speakers, workshops and other activities. For example, at Edward Williams, parents attended an AVID presentation and a student support services seminar. At Hamilton School, parents attended fire safety, nutrition and hygiene, and internet safety sessions.

Parents were able to learn about extracurricular activities their schools offer. There was everything from book groups, to STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts and math) programs, to after-school arts clubs, to nighttime chess instruction to stress-coping strategies.

Ronny Liz and Yulissa Rodriguez moved to Mount Vernon from Boston last summer when Liz started a new job as a New York police officer. So, it’s the first year at Edward Williams for their two daughters, Aliani Liz, who is in pre-kindergarten, and Adele Liz, who is a first-grader.

Rodriguez said they came to Parent Involvement Day, “Just to be involved and show our support for the girls.” She took a few hours off in the morning so she could attend and Ronny Liz just got off his overnight shift and came right to the school.

“We’re involved and we speak to the teachers regularly, but it’s just good to show our presence and our involvement as parents,” Rodriguez said.

Jerine Miller came to Kristen Kowalski’s pre-K classroom to see her granddaughter Savannah Miller. “She is my heart. I’m interested in her learning. She’s very smart. I want to give her the support she needs to grow and continue to learn,” she said.

At Hamilton, Nyisha McDowell visited her daughter Avyiona Ross’s kindergarten class.

“I have an 18-year-old and a 16-year-old  and now I am starting all over again (with a kindergartner),” McDowell said. “I participate in everything now since she started school. I can learn more by being right here in the classroom and being with her,” she said.


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