Our Public Schools: Where All Students Can Pursue Their Dreams



Our Public Schools: Where All Students Can Pursue Their Dreams

En Español

Why are neighborhood public schools the best place for all children to learn and grow? Public schools provide students with the opportunity to develop their potential while learning alongside students from many different backgrounds, nationalities, races, and ethnicities.

"We want parents to know that great things happen in our neighborhood public schools every day," says Cheshire teacher Jeff Leake, who serves as president of the Connecticut Education Association.

"Public school teachers are utterly devoted to the students they teach," Leake continues. "They love what they do, and the success of our students means everything to them."

"In our public schools we have wide-open doors for everyone," says Bridgeport high school music teacher Sheena Graham, Connecticut's 2019 Teacher of the Year. (Click image for larger version)

Lisa Edwards, the mother of a fourth-grader who attends Hopeville Elementary School in Waterbury, says, "Our teachers have compassion for our children, and they bring a caring heart to their profession. When you come in to our school, you feel like you're family."

Connecticut public schools operate under clear rules and defined educational standards, respects students' civil rights and protections, and are required to hire qualified teachers.

They are also the centers of the communities they serve.

"Your neighborhood public schools belong to you and your community," says Leake. "You have a voice in your neighborhood schools through an elected school board, and you can have a direct impact on how your child's school is run."

Public schools have deep community connections, and they help hold our communities together. You or someone else in your family may have gone to the same school your child now attends. You may have come out for its music and drama events, cheered for its athletes, and worn its colors.

Waterbury parent Edwards adds, "One of the things I've learned is that our teachers treat all our children fairly and are there for every child. They take the time to get to know them on a personal level, as individuals, and they nurture every child emotionally and academically."

Public education is a fundamental good, the cornerstone of a fair and prosperous society. Our public schools fulfill America's promise to our children—of leveling the playing field, of giving everyone the knowledge and opportunity to succeed. It's about building respect for the worth, dignity, and equality of every individual in a diverse society.

Bridgeport high school music teacher Sheena Graham, who is Connecticut's 2019 Teacher of the Year, says, "In our public schools we have wide-open doors for everyone."

Melissa Vargas, who teaches English/language arts in Waterbury, says, "We really embrace our students' cultures." (Click image for larger version)

She says one of the most powerful moments she has experienced as a teacher was when students in her drum line started talking to each other about soccer.

"I saw them reverting to the languages from the countries and places they came from—Haiti, Jamaica, Burkina Faso, Mexico, Puerto Rico. I heard French Creole. I heard English," says Graham. "Here, we had been one voice, one language in music, but there was this magical moment when I realized our students had many voices and had come together as one."

Melissa Vargas, who teaches English/language arts in Waterbury, says, "We really embrace our students' cultures. We encourage them to be themselves and show who they are, not shy away. It's beneficial for students but also for teachers, because we learn from them as well."


Resources for Parents

The Art of Asking Questions
Supporting Learning at Various Levels
Crafting a Conversation With Your Child's Educator
Tips to Communicate with Your Child's Educator
Parents and Educators Are a Team
Let's Talk About Race and Discrimination

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