Parents, grandparents and community members gathered August 20, 2019, to continue their work on finding ways to best support Williamson County students.

These meetings grew out of parents asking for improved school awareness of their children’s diverse backgrounds. Superintendent Jason Golden shared his message for the school year with the group, the same message he has shared with teachers and staff – Students First, Empathy (knowing where your students are coming from) and Don’t Go it Alone.  Those attending then spent time in small group discussions.

“For our students and schools to continue to be successful, we need to make sure we don’t inadvertently put up barriers that interfere with our students’ abilities to receive instruction,” said Golden. “Our students come from various backgrounds with different life experiences, and we need to recognize that. I hope members of this group will continue to share both their concerns and celebrations with me.”

Franklin High parent Shifay Cheung has been participating in these meetings since they began in 2018 and is proud of the work that’s been done so far. She said that as the community continues to grow in diversity she is happy to see that school administrators are recognizing the student population is also changing and that sensitivity, empathy and awareness is needed for those who work with WCS students.

“I like that the emphasis this year is a focus on students first and growing our empathy. Even though we live in a bubble, we don’t have shared perspectives on a swathe of issues from religion to social economics,” said Cheung. “There is nothing hidden about the quarterly meetings. Everyone is welcome to come to attend. The parents who come are from all walks and all experiences. I love our school district and want it to truly grow and adapt to a changing world, skills and demographics.”

Kenrose Elementary and Ravenwood High parent Yalonda Ross-Davis, who recently relocated to WCS, attended the meeting for the first time. She said that she is encouraged by the active listening and engagement and is cautiously optimistic.

“Doing it right is not about getting it perfect each time. It is rooted in the thought that you can mess up and own it which Superintendent Golden acknowledges,” said Ross-Davis. “Learn from it and make adjustments accordingly that are aligned with keeping children first. I understand the climate will not change immediately; issues will still happen and there will be resistance; however, with consistency from our senior leadership, support of our teachers (in providing them with tools, resources, and knowledge), along with parents partnering with our school system, we can make the necessary changes needed to reflect our community values.”

The next meeting will focus on students, and it is scheduled for Tuesday, October 22 at 6 p.m.