Park holds NAAPID celebration

Event welcomes African American families in community


Jesse Belen

In room C157, Da’Naiyah Hunter and Kaelyn Dagon take a seat. They finished setting up for the National African American Parent Involvement Day Feb. 13.

Sarah Peterson and Alex Hoag

For National African American Parent Involvement Day (NAAPID) Feb. 13, Park hosted a celebration and invited all families of the African diaspora to join. NAAPID is held on the second Monday of February, and invites parents to celebrate and familiarize themselves with the Park community. The event included a breakfast table and an art exhibition with pieces by Park students. 

Senior November Marshall said although the turnout was low, it was a nice experience and a chance for families to get involved.

“It was really fun, it was a really good opportunity for parents,” Marshall said. “I wished that more parents could’ve come and experienced it. This event was a great way to showcase the African American students in the school, but also allow the parents to see more of the school that their kids go to.”

Administrative Assistant Danaiyah Hunter said consistency is key when progressing toward inclusivity and equality.

“Doing an event like this on a regular basis and continuously listening to what people of color need in a school is how we value Black lives, not just during February,” Hunter said.

Principal LaNisha Paddock said that listening to parents and continuing to provide a welcoming environment is a good way to honor African American parents outside of Black History Month.

“It’s really about continuing to provide a welcoming culture and climate so that families, including our African American families, feel welcome in our school,” Paddock said. “It’s about listening to the voices of our parents to be able to build strong relationships with them so that we’re partnering with our parents to support their child both academically, socially and emotionally.” 

Marshall said African American parent involvement is important and should be recognized by schools.

“A lot of African American parents can get swept under the rug, especially in a community like St. Louis Park where there are more white students,” Marshall said. “It’s important for African American parents to be involved to see what their kids are doing.”

Paddock said that including parents in their student’s education is the best way to help their child succeed. 

“I believe in values education so much, that’s why I decided to come into this field,” Paddock said. “I believe that building relationships with families is super important. Parents are the experts of their children and they can help us create a culture that really allows our students to shine and show what they can do.”

Marshall said many things can be done in order to get a larger turnout for the next event like this one.

“There should be more reaching out to the parents. I know it was emailed, but my mom didn’t know about it. It should be better broadcasted out to everyone,” Marshall said. “The timing is also inconvenient because I don’t know if parents want to get up extra early in the morning just to come here. There should be better reach and a better time for an event like the one today.”