Amie Diprima Brown is a middle school teacher in Rome, GA. It’s abundantly clear from Brown’s recent Facebook post that she cares deeply about her students.
In fact, back in 2008, she was named Gordon County Teacher of the Year for her language arts curriculum at Ashworth Middle School in Calhoun.
But now, she is voicing her personal frustration on social media. “With all of the talk about guns in schools, why it’s happening, and how to solve the issue let me offer a little different perspective,” she wrote in her post.
By sharing visual evidence from a recent class exercise, she’s urging parents to remain more involved in the lives of their kids.
She says that for the past 15 years, she’s consistently sent a letter home to parents on the first day of classes.
That letter, Brown explains, simply asks moms and dads to describe their kids. “I want to learn the child’s hopes, dreams, fears, challenges, etc.,” she adds — and her tongue-in-cheek “million word limit” gives recipients plenty of leeway to display their parental pride.
As part of her annual request, Brown emphasizes that replies aren’t graded, scrutinized for perfect grammar, or evaluated for legible handwriting.
They can be e-mailed back, dropped off at the main office, or sent back with the child.
In short, Brown wants to make it as simple as possible for parents to comply. She maintains that these letters represent an invaluable tool that helps her understand her students more clearly.
“I often pull them out when a child has a sudden change in behavior,” Brown says, noting that “I have learned about eating disorders, seizures, jealousy issues between twins, depression, adoption, abuse” and more. But this year, she’s noticed a very troubling trend.
In 2003, Brown explains, 98% of parents responded. This academic year, however, only 22% completed the task.
Brown is so worried by this decline that she actually included a sobering picture with her post. It shows the robust 2003 stack of replies, right next to the paltry 2017 pile.
With all the recent talk about gun-related school violence and how to address the issue, Brown felt strongly about offering her concerned educator’s perspective to guardians nationwide.
“Be a parent,” she implores, “be involved in your child’s life, so that you can help them through the issues with friends, the possible suicidal thoughts, and problems academically.”
Brown adds that the ongoing support and emotional stability involved parents provide is absolutely priceless. “Don’t wait until your child is the school shooter to let us know your child is struggling mentally,” she says.
Brown wants moms and dads to know that caring educators everywhere are interested in helping students, encouraging them, and cheering them on. But they also want to partner with parents, so children can steadfastly remain on the path to success and lifelong self-acceptance.
Her emphatic Facebook post concludes with an impassioned plea. “I promise you,” Brown maintains, “if parents spent more time with their children and got involved in their lives, we would see drastic improvements in our schools and our society.”
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