For the second weekend in a row, teachers, parents, children, and friends gathered to work together in our outdoor courtyard garden. We pulled weeds, lined up the ripened cucumbers, lamented the shortage of carrots, admired the flowers outside Ms. Biggs’ classroom, laughed at the droopy, but still effective scarecrow, and talked about the start of the school year–still two days away. A grandfather whacked weeds and drilled holes. A rising kindergartener filled a wheelbarrow. Art teacher and courtyard visionary Ms. Flowers shared her dreams for the garden and her plans to write more grants so we can build a shade structure (outdoor yoga! drawing! reading!). Parents talked with fifth-grade teacher Ms. Morris about her energetic volunteering at last year’s Duke football concessions stand. Media Center Director Ms. Graves talked with a parent about her child’s summer reading. We came together to work and to create as a community even before we gathered officially for the start of school. Wonderful, dedicated teachers. Supportive and engaged families. This is Forest View.
This year, more than ever, we all need to support our Forest View community. Legislative budget cuts and lack of support for our teachers (no raises in five years; NC ranks 49th in the nation in teacher salary) have made the already tough job of teaching even tougher. Parent Michelle Hughes reflects on her experience volunteering side-by-side with teachers and administrators last weekend in the context of the recent budget cuts to public education. She offers a public thank you to Forest View teachers (and all North Carolina public school teachers), acknowledges their passion, commitment, and dedication, and issues a call to action. Read her op-ed article in the News and Observer here.
–Jennifer Ahern-Dodson, firstname.lastname@example.org