Celebrating African American Educators
Editor's note: The following is part of a series reporting on excellent African American educators. Educators were selected by the White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for African Americans.
Denise Khaalid is the Principal at Oakdale Elementary School, a STEM Magnet School in Rock Hill, South Carolina. In 2012, she won the National Assistant Principal of the Year Award.
What is the one thing you most celebrate about your students?
One of my favorite quotes is “Your attitude, not your aptitude, will determine your altitude” by Zig Ziglar. I do my best to celebrate my students’ positive thinking. Many of my students experience challenging situations every day. I try to share stories of other people’s resilience, so they know that anything is possible for them.
In what ways do you encourage parents, family members, and other caring adults to support the learning and development of African American students?
We encourage parental involvement and have a number of activities that allow families and community members to support our students. Last year we began our Watch DOGS Program, which encourages fathers and father figures to volunteer at our school. The experience means a great deal to the children when their fathers spend the day at school, and other students also connect with these dads and look forward to the visits.
The other program is Parenting Partners. I have discovered that parents really do want to help their children, but many are not sure how. This fall we will have our first graduating class of parents who have participated in the Parenting Partners’ eight-week workshop series to help them with positive parenting. The parents in this cohort have learned together, shared experiences, and created a support group for one another. They have learned some valuable strategies that will help them better support all of the children. I am very excited about the power of this workshop series. We now have a cohort that can serve as leaders in our school, and we will have another cohort in the spring.
Friday, March 27, 2015
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