By Jo Mathis/AAPS District News Editor
Across the district Monday, AAPS virtually carried on a tradition begun in 1995.
Founded by the late AAPS educator Joe Dulin, National African American Parent Involvement Day (NAAPID) quickly expanded to include all parents.
“Celebrating NAAPID is important because the school-home-community connection is an integral part of every child’s education,” said Jen Daddow, assistant principal at Clague Middle School. “NAPPID is a day that promotes and celebrates parents of all races and ethnicities investing in their child’s education and growing in partnership with the school community.”
In the past, activities throughout the district have included assemblies, breakfasts, luncheons, classroom visits, panel discussions, and performances by students as well as professional musicians and storytellers.
This year, every school again planned its own agenda of events, with many choosing the virtual version of programs held previously.
Lakewood Elementary held two virtual “courageous conversation” events to celebrate NAAPID.
“We discussed racism, barriers, and visibility in our classrooms and community as it relates to our commitment to social justice and equity,” said Principal Eddie Latour.
Haisley’s ensemble included third graders singing, fifth graders reciting a poem, and a special appearance by Haisley alumni/University of Michigan basketball player Brandon Wade.
“This is a wonderful opportunity to celebrate our diversity, experience the day with your child, and contact with our families and our staff,” Haisley Principal Dante Watson said.
NAAPID at Clague Middle School began with “Coffee with the Principals,” and went on to include visits with teachers, an overview of counseling services, a peer-to-peer presentation, and discussions of AAPS’ ebook and audiobook resources, and socio-emotional challenges a year into remote learning.
And at Carpenter Elementary, each family was given a checklist of engaging activities, and the school’s Girls on the Run program sponsored a “Be Active” campaign with a bingo activity board.
“The response has been overwhelmingly positive,” said Principal Michael Johnson. “I have received no less than 70 messages from parents saluting the efforts of our teaching, support, and office staff and the day isn’t even over.”
“At Carpenter, we are the vision that Joe Dulin had over 25 years ago.”
Jen Daddow said that although this year’s Virtual NAAPID was different from the past, it definitely had some advantages.
Due to the convenience of Zoom, many parents could join sessions they may not have been able to attend if we were face-to-face, she said.
“Also, in this virtual setting, we were able to record most of the sessions so parents who had conflicts can watch them at a later time. This is something we couldn’t typically offer.”
But she said staff missed the chance to interact with the families face-to-face.
“We love observing parents walk the halls, attend their child’s classes and lunch period, and share about their family’s experiences in the sessions we hold throughout the day,” Daddow said. “It really is a special time to see parents witness their child’s interactions with peers and teachers in real-time, outside of their home, as well as make their own connections within the school setting. Although I’m truly grateful for the opportunity to spend time virtually with families and connect about what has been going on in their lives, it was not the same. I look forward to a time when we can safely connect in person again.”
The 26th Annual NAAPID Poster Contest is open with entries accepted through 4 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 19. The theme this year is Resilience is Timeless. Winners will be introduced at NAAPID at Night on March 8.