CHS Welcomes Parents to 27th NAAPID


On Feb. 14, Community High School (CHS) virtually hosted parents for the 27th annual National African American Parent Involvement Day (NAAPID). Although the event was scaled down due to COVID restrictions, it still aimed to continue the mission of Joe Dulin, an AAPS  principal who started NAAPID IN 1995 after attending the Million Man March.

“He [Dulin] had an aha moment after the Million Man March,” said CHS Dean Marci Tuzinsky. “He thought about what it would look like to have people who are all engaged, and he was in awe of this. He was at the Capitol and thought, ‘this is what I want back in my school community.’ And so hence it was launched.” 

NAAPID started in the AAPS district and quickly spread throughout the country. It aims to encourage African American parents to become more involved in schools and build connections. Joslyn Hunscher-Young, a CHS teacher, leading a new African American Studies class this semester, believes NAAPID is especially important as schools have historically excluded Black and African-American families. 

“It’s not that they [parents of color] don’t want to be [here], but it’s either that their are barriers to it or that they weren’t welcomed or wanted,” Hunscher-Young said. “And I think, to me, one of the things that’s particularly striking is often the story that we tell around the desegregation of schools. We don’t necessarily think about the impact that it had on the Black and African American communities, where oftentimes their schools that were predominately Black, then were split and broken up and those kids are bused to places where they don’t have access to the same supports and resources. So I think this is an effort to connect and remain connected.”

Tuzinsky believes connection is especially important at CHS, where families might be losing their previous social circles by coming to a school out of their assigned zone.

“When everyone makes the choice to come into the high school, it’s not just the students who are making the choice to maybe separate from some friends and make the leap,” Tuzinsky said.

Dean Marci Tuzinsky stands in front of a Black History Month display in CHS. NAAPID aims to bring Black and African American families into schools where they have historically been excluded.

This year, building visitors are limited due to the pandemic, which Tuzinsky says has made it harder for parents to connect.  She combats this by giving her personal phone number to families and building connections instead of turning parents away when they come to visit.She’s also relied on forum leaders to advocate for their students during staff meetings. 

“When you come to Community High School, the little gift that parents get is that forum leader that becomes that one adult in the building who really knows that kid for four years and can become that go-to person that a parent can reach out to,” Tuzinsky said. “Those relationships are forged as a result. I don’t think any other school could say that every kid who graduates their parents feel like they have one adult in the building who they felt like they could call in a pinch, and who knows their kid.”

In the future, Hunscher-Young hopes to continue the goal of NAAPID by involving families in her African American studies class and its upcoming local history tours.

Tuzinsky similarly believes the essence of NAAPID should continue throughout the year and not act as a one-day event but as a celebration of long-term work.

“I love that we have it,” Tuzinsky said. “I think if we’re doing our job, it should be what we do every single day. This should be more of a celebration of us doing that [parent involvement] than this is the first day it happens.”