11/7/2012 6:00:00 AM Support aired for local PPS chapter
By STEVEN THOMAS
Support was voiced last week for the formation of a local chapter of the national Parents for Public Schools organization during an informational meeting in the courthouse.
The meeting included remarks from PPS founder Dick Molpus, a Philadelphia native and graduate of Philadelphia High School.
Molpus, who founded the organization along with wife Sally 23 years ago, has also served as national board president.
The non-profit organization now has 17 chapters.
Parents for Public Schools members are involved in public school advocacy and reform through distinctive, important work to influence the factors that impact student achievement and improve schools, officials said.
PPS believes parents "are owners of their public schools" and supports members in developing and using meaningful parent involvement.
Parent Joey Kilgore told those in attendance at the meeting on Tuesday, Oct. 30 that parents own their public school districts.
A PHS graduate, Kilgore has a child attending Philadelphia Elementary School.
"We have a great school system with great teachers," Kilgore said, noting that the schools' recent test scores do not truly reflect the district.
Dick and Sally Molpus are "the biggest" supporters of public education, "except for teachers," Kilgore said.
Chiquita Moore Jones, a PHS graduate, also voiced support for a local chapter of PPS during the meeting.
"I am very, very proud of the school system," she said, noting that both of her parents had taught in the city school district.
"I want to see it get back to the state it used to be in. I am so excited about Parents for Public Schools. I am a nurse by profession, not an educator, but I am excited."
Moore has twins in the fourth grade at PES.
More than 20 individuals from the Philadelphia Public School District attended the meeting and heard Molpus explain what it took to create a successful PPS chapter.
He discussed how to fund the organization and train parents. He said the local chapter should reflect the makeup of the community.
Molpus, a former Mississippi Secretary of State, said it was important for children to know their parents are there for them, noting that children perform better in school when they know their parents will help them in any way possible.
Molpus noted that parents should be problem solvers, decision makers, standard raisers, mentors, committed to diversity, think nationally, act locally and be community advocates.
Reaction to the meeting was positive with many in attendance voicing the thought that a local chapter might bridge the gap between city and county schools.
"There's always that cross-town rivalry, parents always want what's best for their school," one parent said.
That same parent suggested that for the next meeting attendees should invite parents from other schools.
Currently, a core group of parents is being organized to pursue a PPS chapter here.
"It sounded like everyone wanted to get it set up," Kilgore said after the meeting.