After finishing a two-year stint as a Teach for America teacher in San Jose, Miss Bennett is starting a new job at a charter school in the same part of town. She was surprised to see “a veritable army of parents and children” showed up to help move the desks and prepare the school for opening.
Furniture was moved, unpacked, put together, and organized in every classroom that needed it, and the parking lot and playground were painted all in the space of 2 hours.
The school secretary called the parents, told them help was needed and they came. At her old district-run school, nobody asked the parents for help.
The principal of an LA school that was converted to a charter once told me about waiting more than a year for the district to send a crew to fix a dangerous sidewalk. Finally, she asked some fathers who did construction and landscaping work. They showed up on the next weekend with their equipment, repaved the walkway and landscaped the front of the school. They were proud to do it.