Letter: Graduation Wishes

Letter to the Editor

We all find different ways to engage in our children’s education — at Open House, on committees, under Friday Night Lights, attending performances, in the voting booth, or around the dinner table. Twelve years ago, when my eldest daughter entered 7th grade, I joined the School Site Council. This week, I am graduating alongside my youngest son.  

Each month, I looked forward to council meetings as a welcoming space to talk about life inside classrooms. The work of the Shark Fund or Arts Angels may be more visible, but tucked away in the library each month is a quiet group of parents, teachers, students and staff charged by the State with improving student learning. I found my home in this group.

Over the past decade, the site council has analyzed data, read books, created 8th grade exit interviews, established the Community Service Learning program and more. A decade ago, we started advocating for longer instructional periods.  Last week, 74 percent of the faculty voted in favor of block scheduling — a reform victory that will play out next year.

Throughout my site council tenure, I have been inspired by the extraordinary commitment of MHS teachers and staff.  Whether it was Bonnie Thoreson spearheading teacher-led professional development, JuliaCheri Hoos supporting the annual student voice project or Henry Wadsworth leading his math colleagues in new teaching strategies, I have always been impressed by the powerful work teachers do to keep Malibu High moving forward. It’s this behind the scenes energy that I’ll miss the most. As parents, we join and leave the school with our children, but the educators are the bedrock that keeps this community whole.  

At our last site council meeting, everyone took turns reflecting on the year. Teary-eyed, I thanked the group for helping me raise my three children. Graduating parents this week are staring down more than an empty nest. Crossing the stage means redefining life in our community. We’ll soon be the alumni parents, cheering on the next crop of graduates and the caring educators, coaches, custodians and others who make our neighborhood school such a special place. Go Sharks!

Karen Quartz