The month of May is a busy and exciting time at Parkside. Rehearsals are underway for our upcoming production of Les Misérables, we’re conducting parent-teacher conferences, facilitating state testing in math and science, and planning for the Family Picnic, Arts Festival, and our Summer Institute. In my classroom on the fifth floor, the Class of 2019 is preparing for graduation and thinking about when they first walked through those red doors and how far they have all come. As they plan their graduation speeches there are giggles about remembering the baby chicks they raised when they were in first grade -- this is a favorite of so many of the children. There are discussions of favorite class trips, celebrations, and friendships made. Most importantly, the kids realize that when they arrived at Parkside they struggled with academics, talking to peers, joining a game or sitting still in the classroom. Now they can see how they have grown into confident learners and important members of the school community. They have been able to write book reports, complete difficult math problems, participate in class debates, create stunning artwork, perform in school plays, and join various school clubs.
For me personally, spring brings a great sense of pride. Amidst the buzz of year-end activities, I find myself reminded regularly of the growth our school inspires in our students. Just this week, I was talking to Daniel and he was telling me that he is so happy that he stayed one more year at Parkside. He said, "I feel ready to go to middle school now. I was not ready last year." Recently, Noah was so proud of a score he received on a book report. He came over to me and said, "I didn't think I could write the book report, I never did one before and I got the highest score!" During this time of year students often have mixed feelings about leaving Parkside. I remember on more than one occasion students have asked, "Why can't Parkside have a middle school, high school or college?" Once a student asked me, "Ms. Ament, will Parkside ever have a retirement home?" These comments speak volumes on how students feel about Parkside.
Just as our students’ growth inspires me, Parkside itself has gone through an impressive transformation in my 24-year tenure. Our curriculum is more structured, our methods more tailored and deliberate. Our science, social studies and writing curriculum have been bolstered by our ability to secure leading consultants who have helped us shape a program that is cross-disciplinary and adaptable. Teachers often collaborate with each other as well as with therapists in order to create better lessons for our students. We all problem solve together to help our kids succeed.
Over the years it has been your financial support – donations to the Annual Fund from parents, alumni and friends – that fuels our ability to address the distinctive needs of every student. With the end of the school year quickly approaching, I am partnering with our Annual Fund Committee to help raise the additional $241,000 needed to meet our goal so that our program may continue to flourish. It is my sincere hope that everyone in our community will give as generously as possible so that our school can continue to flourish.
At our Young Alumni Party earlier this month, I was reminded how the foundation we build for our students stays with them well beyond their years at Parkside. I am so filled with joy every time our alumni return to visit. There are always big smiles, hugs and sometimes tears of happiness. We chat about their current school and classes, and we reminisce about Parkside memories like where they sat in the classroom, favorite lessons and school activities. Alex, now a senior in high school, recently told me he is playing the Tinman in his school production of The Wiz! These visits fill my heart every time, and it is comforting to know that I’ve played a small part in shaping positive life experiences for our students. I hope you can find it in your heart to do your small part as well.
Please note that all Annual Fund contributions for 2018-2019 must be received by June 30th in order to be counted towards this year’s goal. To give online, click here. A gift of any amount will help us achieve our goal! From the bottom of my heart, thank you for supporting our students.
Group Teacher, Class 5-2