iEducate Delaware is an initiative of the Rodel Foundation of Delaware recognizing the unsung heroes of public education statewide. These individuals represent a diverse cross section of parents, educators, community leaders, and other inspiring individuals from up and down the state, who are dedicating their time, commitment, and leadership to Delaware’s public schools. Each honoree received a $2,000 grant to support her work and was honored at the recent Vision 2015 Fall Conference, hosted at the University of Delaware. To learn more, visit www.ieducatedelaware.org.
Town Square Delaware will feature the winning entries from the five honorees selected. The fourth honoree is Tracey Roberts, who is featured in this video by Content Delaware. Her entry appears below:
I am a Delaware educator because fate and marriage brought me here. I moved from Baltimore, where I served as an elementary principal as well. When I arrived in Wilmington, I was assigned to an urban school in Delaware because that’s where my passion lies. Wilmington children are very much like the children in Baltimore and very much like me. I grew up and was schooled in Newark, NJ and I understand the issues of poverty, crime, and diverse communities. Therefore, my work at Pulaski is my destiny. I want to impact the lives of my students and staff in ways that were provided for me by caring educators and leaders who wanted me to be successful.
I created “Pulaski on the Prowl,” an initiative that sent staff out into the community even before the first day of school. It is important that educators know and understand where our children come from and what they have to go through in order to reach them and teach them in school. Pulaski on the Prowl was intended to open the eyes of everyone involved. Educators needed to see the other side of their students’ lives. Students, parents, and community members needed to see that we were willing and interested in coming into the neighborhood to learn more about them and where and how they live. They needed to see that we want them to be a part of our school in order to enhance education for the children in the community.
This project is unique because we were “on foot” and because everyone did it at the same time. I know other principals that plan for teachers to take the bus or walking tours around the communities to see where the children reside. And I know of many teachers who individually and voluntarily do home visits to get to know their pupils’ families. However, Pulaski on the Prowl is unique because this was a mandatory activity for all staff members. We knocked on doors and distributed book bags with school supplies. We introduced ourselves to new students and families. We visited corner stores, restaurants, delis, barber shops, pharmacies, and car repair shops in hopes in forging partnerships and better relationships. We were intentionally visible with a purpose: to do public relations for Pulaski Elementary School.
The students know we care enough to learn more about them so they work harder. If we know more about our students, we can change our teaching and management styles to positively affect their learning and behavior. If parents and teachers meet and speak more frequently about academic expectations, the students see a connection between home and school that will help them to perform better. When businesses and community members partner with or volunteer in our school, children benefit by having mentors or increased funds/resources to enhance school programs.
Our goal is to do this project again. eachers are already asking if we will be doing this again. The answer is yes!
Tracey Roberts is the Principal at Pulaski Elementary School