Graham School Dads Take Your Child to School Day
Dads Take Your Child to School Day was held at Graham School on Friday, September 16, 2022. Other Mount Vernon City School District schools will participate in the event next week. Students led their fathers up the stairs into school, and they went to the gym to enjoy breakfast together. Many students and some parents were wearing pajamas, as it was also pajama day at the school. The students and parents ate while PTA sign-up sheets were passed around, and Principal Dr. Natasha Hunter-McGregor thanked everyone for coming and urged them to get more involved.
Mamadou Diallo, a father of a young girl and two other students in the district said, “I bring my girl to school every day. If you support them, they get there somehow. She is highly active, always on the move, but academics were a little harder for her. The school district always treats my daughter like their own kid. I have had two other kids go through the district, and they had no problems. My daughter had a tough time, and they were always supportive of her. That is why I always show up to support her as well and do my part.”
Dr. Hunter-McGregor addressed the parents and male role models and told them how happy she was to see so many fathers showing up. “The book I have here today is called All Are Welcome,” she said. “We want to be a school of diversity and inclusion at Graham School. That is why I want everyone to know that they are welcome.”
She then read an excerpt from the book. She asked that all the parents in attendance read to their children for at least 20 minutes a day. She emphasized to them that the more adults are involved in a student's education, the more likely they are to succeed.
“The smiles on children’s faces when they introduced us to their important male figures in their life tells the whole story about why we do this,” said Sarah McNamee, school social worker.
She told the parents that she wants to “catch” students doing good. She stressed the importance of using positive language and encouraging students to safely do what makes them happy. She wanted parents to take a role in supporting their child’s social emotional needs. Students and parents participated in an activity where they wrote their commitment for the year to go into their time capsule, and they added what success to their commitment would look like.
After breakfast, parents went outside with their children to participate in outside activities - parachute games, soccer, martial arts, and gardening. These four activities represented some of the things that fathers or other male role models might participate in with their children. The martial arts activities demonstrated the importance of learning how to defend yourself. The gardening activities highlighted forming a connection with nature and enjoying time outside. The parachute and soccer games showed some ways that people can connect with their children and give them fun ways to exercise and use their energy.
Some of the fathers asked questions about good programs and sports to get their children involved in after seeing how happy they were to be playing with their friends and their parents.
Students went to their classes after their outside activities, and parents went to the gym for lunch. Athletics and Program Services Director Ric Wright spoke to the parents about the many student sports and clubs that they can sign up for. Some of the newer programs he highlighted were instructional boxing and learning how to ice skate. School counselor John Cucurollo reminded parents about services available to them and their students, and he urged them to connect with him about the needs of their children.
Dr. Hunter-McGregor handed out a list of community services and family support systems that parents can use. These included Westchester Jewish Community Services, The Guidance Center and Family Ties of Westchester.
Fathers left the school more involved in their children’s education and they were provided with the knowledge to take the next steps as well.