Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Lemon Cake & Community

I brought a lemon yogurt cake to yesterday's meeting and had some requests for the recipe -  I made this one by Ina Garten except that I doubled it, using 4 eggs 'cause that is all I had, and baked it in a bundt pan.

The meeting offered some lovely insights about how we each individually and then collectively experience change, dissent, acceptance, loss, growth, disappointment, intimacy, power, and commitment.  There are no right answers, but learning how to live in community does seem like a central element of our children's education and our lifelong learning, too.

One query that surfaced related to the ongoing question of how we best create spaces for sharing information and our voices.  Parents are invited to a reflection and planning meeting on June 5th to discuss these questions  ( one endless question is when is the best time for meetings? )

Another question is about the use of social media for FSP community building.  Should we create a private network (like Glassboard)?  Should we resurrect our Yahoo Group for email conversations or a bulletin board style communication?  Is there a way to bring more writers onto this blog to stimulate a diversity of conversation?  Should we just have more potlucks?  Or are we mostly solid in our groupness?

And then there are the deeper questions that come out of being a parents group-- how do we make sure a diversity of voices are heard, how do we welcome new parents in, how do we get the work done with joyfulness, how do we discern our place in relationship to our children and the school (knowing that changes often).

For now, please consider using the point parent system to share thoughts, use the comments here, talk to Kim or Helen, or consider throwing an end of the year class party, organize a summer get together, invite parents to do something or simply bring the Quaker value of sharing our light and seeing the light in others as we engage in end of the year celebrations together!


Anne said...

Thanks for this post, Kim, and for all you bring to us through this blog and the school community.

Being new to the school this year, I'm not familiar with the different ways I know you have tried to encourage parent input, or why some of these efforts have fallen away, like the Yahoo group. I've often wondered why there isn't more input and feedback offered in response to the points of interest you post here, since this seems like a fairly ideal place to enjoy ongoing threads of conversation. I would have been offering more input here myself, if I hadn't gotten the impression that this wasn't really what the blog was for... seems more like a place to post things of interest, but not to actually discuss these things or school concerns. Is that the case, or would you like to see more engaging conversations develope here in the comment section?

If you would like to bring more discussion into the ongoing dynamic here, I guess I would suggest a possible series of posts that fall under the heading "Let's Talk", as a way to signal to parents that these are things the community is discussing and welcoming input on. It could very well be that much of the community is too busy with their lives to take part, or maybe are just reluctant to come forward for whatever reason. But if there were some kind of ongoing discussion board, either within this blog or in some other format, that people could tune into without having to work around the timing of a meeting schedule, then this could go a long way to helping people be better informed, and know that their input is welcome. For many of us, like myself, it's not even a matter of being better informed as much as it is a way of having any understanding at all of issues, concerns, and the general pulse of what really is the most welcoming and accepting community of parents I've ever had the pleasure to be part of. And with the upcoming changes, it seems especially important to foster an open, supportive, and cohesive venue for the parent community to find and offer our voice to the greater community.

Kimberly Simmons said...

Anne - thanks for these comments! My experience is that people rarely read the blog and almost never comment -so it is not an inclusive space, and probably the more I just post the more it seems like Kim's blog, although I try to not have it be like that. I have tried to recruit more bloggers but no takers so far except Maya who's been absent lately.

However, I think you're right that it isn't a place for really grappling with deep school issues or anything too personal - we have wanted to keep that face-face. We have tried this point-parent system hoping that any issues could be surfaced within classrooms and then point parents could help bring issues to class meetings or larger forums or could point an individual parent to the right individual staff person for a specific need. We have not had much surface in terms of issues needing attention this way - not sure if it is 'cause things are pretty good or the system doesn't really work. We've also had the monthly forums and some classes have had class meetings. In past years we had more regular parent meetings with looser agendas but numbers were often low... I think this is a huge topic for the 6/5 meeting and for classes and also for here - just in general how do we build more parent involvement and community acknowledging our geographic distances and time constraints?