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Sunday, September 29, 2013

A Teacher's Point of View: Guest Post

By Lelia Shipp Wendel

One of the unique traits of the digital medium Fort Thomas Matters employs to bring you your local news is that it allows us to interact with our readers and for our readers to share their insights into the Fort Thomas community, either through comments or, occasionally, with a guest post on the site.  Lelia Wendel (Shipp) is a lifelong Fort Thomas resident who asked to share her insight into parental involvement in the childhood education process. 
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 As a proud Fort Thomas native and the Pre-K teacher at Bluebird Preschool, I am constantly amazed by the incredible education we have in our town. We are blessed to live in a city in which education is a priority, and where there are opportunities around every corner…literally.
The classes that Highlands High School currently offers amaze me considering when I graduated in 2007, there may have been 5 AP courses offered. We have Slater Music Academy in town where students can hone their musical gifts. The Children’s Art Academy is teaching children as young as 3 years old, which as a preschool teacher I can say is a large undertaking. The elementary schools are teaching Spanish starting in Kindergarten, and The Fort Thomas School System is continuing with their fine arts program while so many schools are discontinuing due to budget cuts.
With all of this said, I still think that the single aspect that makes our students so successful is the parent involvement. I am constantly amazed by my students’ parents, and all that they are willing to do to help their children academically. My students come into my classroom the first day of school knowing more than I could ever imagine which means I can move on to more advanced and exciting things. When we have a party, and I need helpers, I typically have a waiting list of parent volunteers. When I need toilet paper rolls {yes…you read that right} for an art activity, parents will bring in Kroger’s bags full of them a few days later.
Even children as young as four recognize how much their parents do for them. While many children think their parent’s job is “making money” many of my children will come into school saying “last night, when my dad was reading me a book…” Or “when my mom was helping me with my letters…” Or my very favorite “when my dad was helping me make a volcano and we got tomato sauce on the ceiling...” These are the comments that warm my heart. Seeing parents engaged in their children’s lives is one of the brightest parts of my day! It makes me proud to have grown up in this city, and excited for our future children to experience a thriving childhood in Fort Thomas.
So keep it up, parents! You’re doing a great job! Stay involved, ask questions, and communicate with your teachers. And thank you for being such an incredible inspiration to all of the Fort Thomas new moms and moms to be!

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