Parent Power @ Columbia Grammar & Prep School – Ebony Tyler

RIISE member mom, Ebony Tyler, was kind enough to give feedback about how she builds bridges in the independent school community. Here, Ebony reacts to her school, CGPS’ recent RIISE School Membership and her expectations around that; shares how she supports her boys through enrichment and how she works to stay involved; and last, but not least, tells what she loves most about CGPS!
Thanks Ebony for supporting the network!
1. My first reaction was WOW THIS IS GREAT, the administration is strongly looking at ways to diversify the student body.  My hopes are that this diversification leads to not only more families of color admitted to CGPS, but also families from different socioeconomic levels, one parent or divorced families, and families from the LBGT community. To me this is true diversity.
2. I actually have 2 boys of color at CGPS. My oldest is a 2nd grader, he was admitted in Kindergarten and my youngest is a Kindergartener who was admitted in PreK.  I appreciate honest dialogue about where my sons are academically, if there is a problem I appreciate the team approach to address it head on!  My oldest had some issues with reading fluency last school year. This school year, CGPS developed a program called Power Hour where students get extra help after school with a specialist in reading & math, it is a very small setting and sometimes one on one. My oldest goes every week for one hour in reading and it has changed his reading around significantly. He is now a more confident reader, reading on his own, and he looks forward to going to Power Hour. I think it’s important to have an ongoing dialogue with your child’s teachers and to not wait until Parent Teacher Conferences to find out there is a problem, or that there isn’t. Parents have a responsibility to inform educators of what their expectations are for their children, so we are all on the same page.  I also think there needs to be more opportunities for working parents to be involved. For example, if there is a trip working parents be given priority to participate on the day they ask to attend. Working parents don’t always have flexible schedules, and for me it takes a lot of coordinating to attend school hour events.
3. My sons are happy at CGPS. There have been a few bumps in the road but I think it has been a growing process for all of us.  I let my sons know that I am their number one advocate and they must tell me the good and the bad that happens at school, so that I can support them. Sometimes, it can be overwhelming with “keeping it together” at school during the long school day.  Sophia Rohde the chess teacher / coach has been very supportive of my sons and has been a sounding board for me during the bumps in the road.  My favorite thing about CGPS is that my sons are happy and they feel that they are a part of the school community and are able to participate in all aspects of school activities through the support CGPS provides.
We live in Bedford Stuyvesant, Brooklyn. I am a Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor with New York State Education Department (NYSED). I work with disabled high school students as they transition from high school to work, through training, college or direct job placement.  Both boys are on the CGPS traveling Chess Team.

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