Parents, Teachers, and Students Working Together

Parents, Teachers, and Students Working Together

Around 5:45 on the first Thursday of the month, the Teacher’s Lounge near the Main Office fills with voices. Parents, students, teachers, and administrators assemble around a long table and go through the very full agenda. This gathering is only a precursor to a larger meeting to follow at 6:30 pm. For the Parent-Teacher-Student Organization (PTSO), there are fundraisers to plan, events to propose, and, of course, meetings to hold for all members of the North Point community. The monthly meeting topics run the gamut from Advanced Placement Information and Course Selection to Health and Safety and a Volunteer Fair (to be held on March 7).

The PTSO has existed at North Point for several years, under the leadership of various parents. Its current president, Bob Lohr, said, “It’s been a tremendous opportunity.” He commented that it is important that teachers and administrators see that they have the support of North Point parents, letting them know that “they’re not alone.”

The organization also includes student representatives for every grade level. “I enjoy my position on the board because I want to be a teacher,” said Maria Estevez (’14). “It’s a good way to increase my involvement in the school system.”

Last week’s meeting was the annual AP Information Night, featuring a presentation from Mr. Mast on the benefits of enrollment in advanced classes. As is usual at PTSO meetings, the presentation was very facts driven, with statistics that any parent or student would appreciate. Afterward, Mast was joined by Joshua Looney (’13), who discussed his experiences in AP classes with the parents in attendance.

Next came the highlight of each of the monthly meetings: a presentation from Ms. Hill. Typically, she outlines any news she has to share with the parents and then opens the floor to questions. This month she discussed the School Progress Index, Maryland’s new measurement of school performance. Like Mast’s, Hill’s presentation was very data driven and specific. The takeaway is that North Point placed into the highest strand possible based on HSA scores, reduction of the achievement gap and college/career readiness. The only other high school in Charles County to do this was La Plata.

In the question/answer period, Hill addressed questions on school safety following the events in Newtown, CT, and how the school would react to an emergency during NEST. To the former, she said that the administration is a conducting a review of safety plans and will be building a gate at the entrance to the new staff only parking lot to serve as a “psychological barrier.” “I really appreciate our students and staff being flexible,” she added. To the latter question, Hill noted that current plans have students and staff going to the stadium and splitting into homerooms. However, she agreed that this plan is not well publicized and should be in the future.

By 7:30, the meeting wrapped up and the attendees made their way home. The PTSO reconvenes on February 7 for Course Selection Night.