Good food and good conversation are a winning combination in promoting good relationships. With this in mind, the Hope-Hill Advisory Team recently sponsored a Potluck Supper for UUCA members/ friends who volunteer at the school. In addition, Maureen T. Wheeler, Hope-Hill Principal and Leah Goodwin-Black, Assistant Principal were invited guests.
Our hardy and hungry group of 17 converged at the historic Inman Park home of Oren Mann on Feb. 21st. (Thanks Oren for your generous hospitality.) The agenda for the evening was to enjoy each others company and to get to know one another better. And as you’d imagine, much conversation revolved around our shared interest…that of the education and well-being of the children, teachers, and staff of Hope-Hill School and how the UUCA/Hope-Hill Partnership could be strengthened.
Principal Wheeler expressed her deep appreciation for the work of UUCA volunteers and for our commitment to the children at Hope-Hill. She know many of us by name and by sight due to the frequency with which she encounters us in the hallways and classrooms. Our one-on-one tutoring and our after-school math and science clubs are an invaluable support to the children and teachers.
While acknowledging that much more needs to be done, Ms. Wheeler noted the following accomplishments during her first six (6) months as principal.
- Implementation of Eagle Expectations, the school’s code of conduct for students, teachers, and staff. The Standards have contributed to a more positive, caring, and supportive atmosphere and culture.
- Adoption of a token/reward program to recognize and reinforce positive actions and behaviors. The program is wildly popular with the kids. “Lunch with the Principal or Assistant Principal” is one of the hottest tokens to be earned.
- Qualification and placement of six (6) children in special education services.
- Creation of working relationships with Old Fourth Ward neighborhood organizations who care for and about Hope-Hill children and their families.
- Selection of Ms. Goodwin-Black as Assistant Principal whose special talent is data analysis. She’s expert at identifying gaps and trends in student and teacher performance. Her work in this area has enabled Ms. Wheeler and the teachers to make important, data driven decision that benefit the children.
Ms. Wheeler and Ms. Goodwin-Black shared with us their “wish list” of services and programs that UUCA and other volunteers could offer.
- More tutors to work with children one-on-one and in small groups. Many children are in need of individual help in math and reading.
- Additional after-school academic enrichment clubs, such as art, music, dance, dramatics, photography, writing, chess, sewing, sports, etc. Many children and their families have few or no resources for life enrichment experiences like these.
- Support for parents who need help with gaining employment and career advancement, such as resume preparation, computer job search skills, employment interviewing, and GED preparation. Helping parents be successful is a direct, positive benefit to their children.
UUCA volunteers enjoyed hearing from with Ms. Wheeler and Ms. Goodwin-Black and in sharing their experiences working with the kids, teachers, and staff. Most enjoyable for all was the opportunity to “break bread together” and celebrate our work on behalf of the children at HHES. It’s highly likely there will be future Potlucks as we continue to build the UUCA/Hope-Hill Partnership.