Parent committee inspires employees during difficult times

Members help staff gain perspectives

Adam Gips

According to co-chair of the Parent Engagement Advisory Committee (PEAC) Julie Yakes, they combined the committees to centralize opportunities for parents to join forces with the administration.

“This was really to provide an avenue for parents who wanted to get involved across the school. (It was) also for the principals to have an outlet for parents to provide feedback for (a) collaborative relationship,” Yakes said. 

At a planning meeting this fall, the principals, Building Assets and Reducing Risks coordinator Kelly Brown and parents Julie Yakes and Lauren Weiser, former members of the Parent Engagement Committee and the Parent Advisory Committee, came together to form the Parent Engagement Advisory Committee. 

Interim Principal Wendy Loberg said PEAC has been helpful because of their work to support employees. 

“They bring in treats all the time for staff like the week of workshop; they bring in all kinds of granola bars and Keurig coffee for people to have,” Loberg said. “Now they’re helping out with contributing gift cards that we’re giving out to teachers because they’re putting in a lot of extra hours.” 

According to Building Assets and Reducing Risks (BARR) coordinator Kelly Brown, PEAC has helped both sides by presenting ideas to the administration and briefing information to guardians.

“It’s important to keep parents informed about what’s happening at school and to provide a platform for giving information about current events,” Brown said. “(It is) also important hearing parent feedback about how things are going. Then, we can continue to monitor and adjust our own practices (to) better meet the needs of our families.”

According to Loberg, the PEAC members are passionate about giving when it comes to improving Park.

“They’re kind, love kids and want to support the school. They want to take things off our plate that can be engaging for parents and kids. They’re so generous with their time and their resources to be supportive,” Loberg said.

According to Yakes, due to the current situation, PEAC is motivating the staff to further aid students. Yakes said the world has a lot of problems and needs everyone to stay hopeful for the situation to improve.

“We need them to stay motivated and positive because students are with them every day. (A) negative attitude gets projected to the people that are around you. A positive attitude and a-can-do attitude also gets projected (to) the people that are around you,” Yakes said.

Brown said the meetings are useful for her job of informing parents, taking their comments and conveying them to teachers.

“It’s been very worthwhile to attend those meetings because I can directly take what I hear there from parents and give feedback to our staff and our teachers, particularly ninth and 10th grade because I meet with them regularly,” Brown said. 

Yakes said one of PEAC’s future goals is to gain more representation of Park so it can hear diverse perspectives. 

“Our vision is always to try to get better representation. On Coffee with the Principal (meetings), it’s a sea of white faces,” Yakes said. “(We want) to engage other parents that are Black, Latina, Somali, in the district, out of district and transgender. We want all parents so it’s not just these same old people that show up.” 

To join or learn more about PEAC, email the committee.