Village Then and Now

By Becky, Village Secretary and Founding Parent

 

Village School started with two classrooms, a K/1 and a 2/3 in September of 1995 on the Hazelwood Campus. The two teachers were Vickie Petkovitch (K/1) and Katy Dalgleish (2/3). I believe we had a total of 42 students at the time. Katy was also the teacher in charge and worked with the Hazelwood Administration. Vickie left at the end of the first year. Elizabeth Shepherd, Sandy Giese, and Janine Ramonda joined us the next year and we never looked back! Katy stayed on for several more years and was masterful at making this whole thing work!

One of the biggest problems in the beginning was a lack of clarity for the parents as to what their role in the school and classroom was. I’ll never forget one parent walking into the school with a large stack of paperwork handing it to the teacher and saying “this is the curriculum I expect you to teach my child”. We also had parents who walked into the school and said “hey everybody we’re going to make chewing gum today!” That was lovely but it was a serious problem for the teachers. Centers were a great way to harness all the wonderful ideas and activities parents had to offer although it took a couple of years to refine the system to become what it is today.

The vision of the school was unclear in the beginning because everyone had their own idea of what they wanted the school to be. Some wanted a military school and some wanted kids to be able to play with Legos and Barbies all day. As a public school none of those ideas were options.

I did a lot of research that first year, visiting every Parent Participation Elementary School in the area to see how they ran their programs and how they used parents in the classroom. Those meetings were so beneficial that we continued to meet for years after.

We brought in “Robert’s Rules of Order” which was very helpful in running those first board meetings, as the first meetings had a tendency to get heated! We also set up meeting norms so that everyone remembered to be kind to each other. We did lose several families after that first year but once we had a clear vision we were able to grow into the wonderful place we have today!

I think the biggest difference between now and then is the number of students and families. As we’ve grown it has been hard to keep some traditions alive which was really hard for me to accept at first but there are so many wonderful new traditions how can I complain!

 
 


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