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National African American Parent Involvement Day

The National African American Parent Involvement is held annually at CHS. This year, parents and staff discussed the history and culture of CHS and what the school should continue doing to celebrate its history.

National African American Parent Involvement Day is an annual event celebrated nationally on the second Monday of February. Every year, parents gather from different cultural, economic and social backgrounds to discuss their concerns at school. In 2024, NAAPID again was held at CHS in the Library.

“We want to be able to celebrate our parents, our African American parents here at the school,” said Rebecca Westrate, the CHS assistant dean. “[We want to] make sure that everyone feels welcome, make sure that we put a focus on the fact that all parents are interested in their children’s education and are looking for different ways to be involved.”

CHS has always been a place for parents to celebrate and see the students in their classes during NAAPID. During the past few years since COVID-19, the community has made sure to have discussions about issues that are relevant to parents and the school. Through NAAPID, CHS has been dedicated to figuring out a way to improve the school environment as well as gathering information to make further improvements.

Compared to other AAPS high schools,, CHS offers a place to build closer relationships between parents and school staff due to its unique culture and smaller student body.

“We’re smaller in a lot of ways,” said Joslyn Huncher-Young, a social studies teacher and key organizer of this year’s NAAPID event. “I think why students and families are drawn to the community part of it is that it’s smaller and you’re able to connect with people and build those relationships. At a bigger school, the principal’s probably there, but you might not necessarily be able to have that same level of conversation.”

As for 2024, the discussion is designed to be a mix of parents who are newer to CHS, parents who have had multiple children in CHS and parents who graduated from CHS, intentionally creating a mix of people’s experiences with CHS leads to a richer discussion.

For CHS, NAAPID holds meaningful significance due to its unique history. Before receiving the name Community High School, it was known as Jones Elementary, a predominantly black elementary school. In 2022, CHS celebrated its history and made sure that students participated throughout the process by celebrating 100 years since the founding of Jones School.

“I think that our purpose last year is to always recognize that there was an entirely different ecosystem in this building before we moved in 1972,” said Marci Tuzinsky, CHS Dean. “We did that piece to celebrate 100 years, where we had renamed the school Jones School. Each forum took a decade of the history of this building and then researched that, and then different students took us on walking field trips around the neighborhood.”

It is important to further highlight CHS’s history and culture as a school. Many incoming students might not be familiar with the culture and environment that CHS is trying to create. Incoming freshmen need to be informed about their choices of high school.

“We didn’t know anything about the school,” said Tamara Young, a CHS parent. “We didn’t know about the history until we got back on campus tour. But my son chose the school and I had no idea what was going on there. But this is an amazing school. I’m glad that he did choose the school.”

Parents also expressed there should be more opportunities like NAAPID that provide a platform and time for parents and school staff to discuss the culture of the school and plan for the future to further highlight it.

“As a black mother,” said Amber Smith, a CHS parent. “It needs to not just be done in February to reach out to black families. It needs to be done at the beginning of the school year. Bring them in and provide food. Have these conversations and reach out more within the community.”

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Leo Castilho
Leo Castilho, Journalist
Leo Castilho is a first-year journalist and a junior at Community High School. Outside of home and school, you can catch Leo rowing for Skyline down at the docks of Concordia College, in a lab at Umich, at a fair, or relaxing with friends simply driving around.
Anthony Wang
Anthony Wang, Opinion Editor
Anthony is currently a Junior at Community High School. It is his second year as a communicator stuff, and first year as a Web opinion editor. Anthony is doing Varsity Crew at Huron, and Mock Trial at Community. In his spare time, Anthony likes to hang out with his friends, play video games, and watch videos on Youtube.

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