I have written a great deal about my hometown of Lowell, Massachusetts and its school system. It is a stellar school system, ripe with anecdotal stories, one of the first systems to have an evening school, and one of the first to recognize girls as well as boys in its awarding of the highly coveted Carney Medals for Academic Excellence.
Over the course of the past year, under the tutelage of Superintendent Salah Khelfaoui, Ph.D, the schools have been earnestly looking for a parental level of involvement that surpasses that which existed before in the last decade. In keeping with that goal, the Superintendent has restarted the Citywide Parent Council, beefed up the Parent Teacher Organizations, and started a Strategic Plan with such planning being an integral part of the effort.
« What we have discovered through our work on the Strategic Plan, is that there are a lot of parents, community leaders, community members, and taxpayers that want to know more about our schools and participate in the decision-making process. » So says Anne Sheehy, the Assistant Director of Human Resources and an integral part of the Superintendent’s team. Anne has a good name, comes from a powerful family in the city, and is a very good person to be pushing the Strategic Plan. I know Anne well enough that I know she would be the first to say that all of this was Dr. Khelfaoui’s (Kalfowi) work and idea. But I feel that she has a good hand on the pulse of the school system.
« We are excited about the prospect of having the parents involved in the school system, to the point that we have made it a priority to start up the Doors Open project, » according to Dr. Khelfaoui. « The Doors Open project is our effort to get the parents involved in meeting with our excellent teachers and staff. Schools will be open on a staggered basis, with all of the schools to be open at some point in the school year. It does not diminish our efforts to keep parents involved through the Citywide Parent Council and the PTO’s, » he said. « However it allows parents to visit teachers and administrative staff in a structured way. »
The first schools to be opened on Wednesdays includes the:
Doors Open for 2016 and 2017
September 7 – Daley, Bailey, and Molloy Career Academy Schools
October 5 – Sullivan, J.G. Pyne, and LeBlanc Schools
November 2 – Butler, Shaughnessy and Cardinal O’Connell Schools
December 7 – Peter W. Reilly and Stoklosa Schools
January 4 – Bartlett Community Partnership and Robinson Schools
February 8 – Christa McAulliffe, Murkland, and Greenhalge Schools
March 8 – Moody School and Edith Nourse Rogers STEM Academy
April 5 – McAvinnue, Pawtucketville Memorial, and Dr. An Wang Schools
May 3 – Morey and Abraham Lincoln Schools
June 7 – George Washington and Laura E. Lee Schools
All Doors Open sessions are approximately 10AM to 12 Noon
Bus will pick up participants at 10:00 AM at Lowell Public Schools Office of Human Resources @ 155 Merrimack Street in Downtown Lowell.
Again, the Doors Open program is designed to get a chance to see the children in their school environment. Be there, your child would like to see you visiting. I personally hope that you will see a little of your school years in your excited child’s eyes.
Remember, the purpose of Doors Open is to increase « the awareness and involvement in our schools which will give way to a new era of community participation. This year Lowell will continue to collaborate in meaningful ways with the wide variety of families, community partners, interested citizens, and community leaders in Lowell. »