, Port Arthur, Texas

February 19, 2013

Parents, teachers talk about curriculum at Memorial High

Erinn Callahan
The Port Arthur News

PORT ARTHUR — Lloyd W. Scott hasn’t had a child attend Memorial High School in years. But don’t think his interest in what the students are learning has faded.

“I’m the parent of four graduates, my wife’s a teacher here, and I’ve got four grandchildren who are on their way here,” said Scott, who, as the pastor of Eastern Star Baptist Church, is acquainted with many of Memorial’s students. “I have a desire to help them toward education and excellence.

“When you have a heart for children, you know education is the key to real emancipation.”

Scott was just one of hundreds of Port Arthur citizens — parents and community members alike — who attended Memorial High School’s Spring Curriculum Night on Monday, Feb. 18, at 5 p.m.

Curriculum Night grants parents the opportunity to discuss what their children are expected to learn for the upcoming school year, principal Calvin Rice said.

“Research shows that, any time you get parents involved in the students’ education, they’re more successful,” Rice said. “So we would be remiss if we did not make an attempt to reach out to the parents in Port Arthur to give their students the opportunity to be successful.”

Rice opened the program with an assessment of the school’s standardized testing situation. The State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness — STAAR — test replaced the Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills, or TAKS, test last spring.

“I’m going to talk a little  bit about STAAR — some of the requirements and what we face as a school, as far as the students passing and held accountable for graduation,” he said.

This is not the first year Memorial has invited the parents to discuss the school curriculum, but the program did undergo a slight face lift, Rice said.

“Previously, we did almost like a review, where we showed people what we

were doing,” Rice said. “Now we’re going to show them what we’re doing, but also give them an opportunity to ask questions and interact with things related to the curriculum that we use, and also the standards that the state is holding us responsible for.”

Andrea Calhoun, who teaches social studies at the school, said the new format would maximize the effectiveness of Curriculum Night.

“It builds a partnership between the community and the parents, with the faculty and staff,” she said.

Rochelle Rogers, whose daughter Keiana is a senior at Memorial, said she attended Curriculum Night to gain a more thorough understanding of the material her children are learning.

“I’ve always been interested in the curriculum,” Rogers said. “Personally, I don’t feel like they challenge the kids enough, so I wanted to hear what they had to say about their curriculum and what they expected.”

Rogers added that she knew the responsibility of her children’s education does not fall solely on the teachers.

“School doesn’t stop at school,” she said. “They have homework. I want to see what kind of help she needs, and if there’s something I can do to help at home.”

Even Deloris Prince, mayor of Port Arthur, was in attendance.

“Of course when we talk about the students, I’m always interested,” Prince said. “It takes a lot for parents to work with our students, and our teachers — we need to be encouraging them.

“We all play a part in the education of our children, whether we have kids at school or not. My kids are grown, but these are still my children. These are the kids who are going to be taking care of us later on in life. So we’re supposed to be encouraging them, and their parents.”


Twitter: @ErinnPA