Key Biscayne K-8 Center has been an amazing school for many years. Since August 2020, we have seen programming and basic services disappear unless parents fight for them. For example, the reopening of the school library, Accelerated Reader program, EFL, ESE, Gifted, Spanish classes, allowing cleared volunteers in, and retaining teachers, and staff positions have been fought for by concerned parents. It appears that similar schools in the county are not having trouble keeping programs, offering basic services, and retaining staff.  Therefore, what is happening at the Key Biscayne K-8 Center?

Previously, Key Biscayne K-8 Center valued parent involvement. Parents helped in the classrooms, planted and cared for the garden, decorated the school, and bulletin boards. It was beautiful to walk down the hallway and listen to the kids say: “My parents helped do that.” It gave them a sense of pride, and they learned by example that volunteering is a positive thing. 

The garden (now) is in bad condition and it’s sad to walk down some hallways where you see unfinished bulletin boards or bulletin boards from 2019.  The teachers are left to do everything, without any support, even though they have requested it from administration.  Every year they give more responsibilities to the teachers and staff. 

There is no set protocol for allowing volunteers to help teachers. One day you may be able to help while the next day you are left waiting outside. There have been many parents who have arrived at the K-8 Center with materials to help and were not allowed in. But the administration loves to say they have an “open door policy.” I have sent several emails, which are not responded to. 

Schools encouraging parent involvement is more than common courtesy. It’s one of the best ways to create a positive learning environment for every student. Parents can help the school,  especially with the shortage of faculty, staff, and substitute teachers.

This school year, parental involvement and engagement in education matters now more than ever. While sending emails can help families have some information, students are missing out when parents are not allowed to offer their time and support. When parents and school work together, the effect on their students is profound. By not allowing parent engagement, administrators are limiting our schools capacity for growth.

Laudi Ibarra

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