Schools will open on a two-hour delay, Wednesday, January 17.

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Give the Gift of Education

In the News

Fall/Winter Newsletter 2023

Parents’ association aims to build communications, community

By Mary Maushard

Involving more families in The Loyola School is the first job facing its new parents’ association.

“We want to create an environment where everyone feels supported,” said Ryan Harris, the association’s first president. “We want to make all parents feel they are included.”

With an alphabet of communication tools, a list of want-to-do events and infectious enthusiasm, the association is kicking off its first year, hoping to interest all parents, especially those who may now connect with TLS only when they drop off and pick up their youngsters.

Communicating is key, Harris said. “Parents and administrators alike perceived that there was a gap in communications. One of our concerns was a lack of communication on different platforms. The younger parents, especially, are all over social media. We just try to blast it out on all platforms.”

Some of those platforms might be old-fashioned, such as a suggestion box for family members to ask questions or leave ideas. On the other hand, the association has put together a lively Instagram page with not only announcements, but also parenting tips, suggestions for family activities and everyday encouragement. These are only a few of the communication tools the association is using.

The association got its start last spring with the election of officers but began its work in September. In addition to communications, “the association evolved from a need for more parent involvement,” said Harris, the father of first-grader Caiden and PreK-2 student Chloe. He estimates that about one-third of TLS parents are active at the school.

In addition to increasing that number, the association hopes to build and foster relationships among families and with families, teachers and administrators. He sees this as furthering the spirit of community that is critical to the Rev. William J. Watters’ vision for TLS.

“The association is a great addition to the school. It brings us into community here, making sure parents are involved,” said Destiny Jefferson,  TLS social worker and liaison to the group. “We have a lot of parents who aren’t as vocal [as some others], but who have concerns.”

The association sponsored its first event, a family Trunk or Treat celebration of Halloween, on the Saturday before the holiday. Adults and children enjoyed games, music, and of course, treats distributed from the trunks of volunteers’ cars. They gathered at St. Ignatius Loyola Academy in Federal Hill, a TLS partner school also founded by Watters.

Even before the official event, many parents participated in the September Art Mingle and Scholarship Fundraiser, greeting guests, meeting sponsors and talking about their experiences at TLS. They helped to build community among TLS supporters and make the art auction a great success.

Joining Harris in association leadership are Tiara Eggleston, vice president; Dariana Do`ne, secretary; Janna Ohrstrum, treasurer; Star Bey, event coordinator; and class parents Erica Sterling, Shakiera Keyser, Devona Dixon, Brianca Day, Sharnice Jones, Darius Thompson and Jacquelyn Madison. The association will hold all-parent meetings every other month.

The role of class parents is to spend time each month in their classrooms, communicating with the teachers about how parents can best support them and reinforce what is happening at school. The class parents will also act as liaisons between parents and teachers.

“The school has been very welcoming. I believe they have seen the need and wanted the parent association themselves,” Harris said.

With one successful event to its credit, the TLS Parents’ Association looks forward to many more. Harris has a clear vision of what he would like the group to achieve: “If at the end of the first year, the parents would say they feel more included and seen and heard within the school, I believe we would be successful.”