What is the role of parents in the education of their children? Nature and society entrust children to their parents, so it is altogether fitting that parents take an active role in the education of their children. Throughout history, various societies come and go, but the family remains. Public charter schools are a step in the right direction in a recognition of this relationship between parents, children and education.
What role might parents play in the initial start up and the day to day operations of Sophia Academy? Here are some unscientific reflections:
1. Start Up. Before one makes a formal application to the district/state, the future school must demonstrate parental/community support via "Parent Information Meetings," which will (hopefully!) lead to letters of support from parents, politicians, business people, etc. In addition, parents will be asked to file "Letters of Intent" with us (these don't go in with the application, but we need to give the state numbers and keep them on file).
Ideally, the parental support we get comes from the parents' conviction that this school has something that no other school has. In other words, parents are in agreement with the mission and vision of Sophia Academy. Not in all details necessarily, but they support what we are doing.
Parents might also be able to provide some key services to the school on a voluntary basis. A pro bono lawyer, for example.
2. Day to Day Operations. For a high school to be run well, it takes many good people. Some jobs are obviously full time and should be compensated justly: teachers, secretary, administrator/site coordinator, registrar, counselor. Depending upon the number of students, some of these positions would be combined. One could also include teacher aides, janitor, maintenance, security, librarian, computer support, etc. I can see parents helping in the classroom if the right kind of training is provided. I would like to see students have the task of keeping the school clean (it's "their" house, in a very real sense). Security -- one hopes this would be superfluous. Having a librarian is predicated upon having a library. I think of the school as being basically "low tech" but computers are a part of life and require maintenance.