Parent Club quandary at Gilroy High

Here’s the key question: Why is it that every public school
within the Gilroy Unified School District except Gilroy High School
has a supportive partnership in the form of a parents club?
Here’s the key question: Why is it that every public school within the Gilroy Unified School District except Gilroy High School has a supportive partnership in the form of a parents club?

We don’t think that parents suddenly become unsupportive, unresponsive, unreasonable and uninterested in their children’s education as soon as they become students at Gilroy High. We have come, unfortunately, to believe that the welcome mat is not sincerely extended to GHS parents. The sense that GHS parental involvement is tolerated, but not encouraged is palpable

This year, the parents club has disintegrated in a wave of protest. The final straw for co-vice-president Lillian Castillo and co-president Denise Apuzzo, who both have resigned, came when GHS math teacher Wayne Scott sent out an e-mail to fellow staff members urging them not to support the parents club in the aftermath of the controversy over the Day of Silence. Talk about cutting off your nose to spite your face.

Something’s wrong – and if Superintendent Edwin Diaz and Principal Bob Bravo think that it’s just because the parents who want to get involved are merely “agitators,” they are sadly mistaken.

There have been some notable improvements at Gilroy High: Honors classes have been added, discipline is tighter and the English literature reading list is much improved. Truth be told, active parents have played a significant role in each improvement. The parents, GHS staff and Bravo should be sharing credit for these improvements and marching ahead with each triumph.

Instead there are resignations, lingering negativity and the very real perception that parents are not valued, that they exist outside the circle of trust.

Too bad. It is an opportunity missed not just for Gilroy High School, but for the students and, ultimately, this community.

Gilroy High is not a university. It should not be a place where a series of “professors” teach disconnectedly from the administration and the community.

The challenge is still to forge a relationship with the community that will go beyond the controversies that are bound to spring up at a school of more than 2,000 students.

Success in forging a true partnership with Gilroy High parents and, thus, the community at large should not be underestimated. It should be the basis for a district action plan and a subject for constant monitoring by our school board. The customers of Gilroy High are the parents of this community. They should be valued, listened to, supported, kept in the loop and tapped for the positive contributions they are willing to make.

A parents club, like a community newspaper, will likely make some waves. When there are parents who care enough to get involved, there will be direct questions and controversy.

The top mission for Gilroy High should be to forge a relationship with those parents that will weather storms. That’s not just a tall order, it’s an absolutely necessary one if Gilroy High’s students are to reach their full, collective potential. That is the highest and best goal for our community.

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