Join S.U.S.

Upcoming 2018-19 Meetings

Sept. 18
Oct. 23
Nov 20
Jan 22
Feb 26
March 19
April 23
May 21

Regular meetings held at The Hickcok Meeting Room, Summit Public Library, 9:15 a.m.

Welcome to the 2017-18 School Year!

All Welcome!

I have been trying all summer to write a welcoming note so motivating that many of you will be curious enough to join us for a cup of coffee and bagels in our new cycle of Speak-up Summit meetings. I have been writing and erasing paragraphs trying to decide what subject will be the more sought-after. Changes are happening on many fronts, from new appointments in the state and local Boards of Education, student loans forgiveness policy to a discussion about the constitutional right to literacy, etc.

Speak-up Summit is a non-profit, non-partisan group, open to all parents interested in the improvement of our kid’s public education system, with the main purpose to offer a space where discussions can happen in a relax and amicable manner, where we share our worries -not only about schools and policies- but also about the challenges we face daily while our kids are growing up in this ever-changing digital era. Regardless my intention to focus on policies and regulations, my mind keeps wondering towards issues happening outside the classrooms. If you had the chance to visit the Lincoln-Hubbard commons, you’ll notice some wonderful quotes decorating the walls; one of them reads: “You are the author of your life story”. I believe that to be true for everyone: for an individual, a couple, a family or a community. We are so convinced that schools are the best platform for the transfer of knowledge that we are committed to sending our children -sometimes against their own will- for 8 hours a day, 5 days a week for most of the year. However, this transfer of knowledge doesn’t happen in the void. School is an important pillar of the development of skills and character of our young, but what surrounds them has also a weight on their development. A happy kid is a better learner. A kid feeling safe, appreciated and well taken care of has more chances to flourish. We are the authors of our own life stories, but our individual stories are interconnected; other people’s experiences shape our own, changing our perceptions and enriching our vision.

Reading the story of Michel Oher as part of the “One Book One Community” initiative has strengthened my conviction that we all have an important role to play in transforming the lives of those around us, for the worse or for the better, by taking action or by neglect. We all praise individual accomplishments but for some, the importance of our collective effort to support their individual and sometimes unnoticed struggles can have a life changing impact, an impact so big as to prevent their life stories to be short. The suicide of Mallory Grossman, a six grader in the Rockaway School District should serve as a reminder that no one is immune to tragedy. Everyone is entitled to their own personal opinions based on their religious beliefs, work ethics or cultural backgrounds and although there’s perfectly acceptable to agree to disagree, more often than not, it’s vital that we reach consensus for the betterment of everyone. Sometimes our disagreements can be resolved if we take the time to “read” a bit more of other people’s life stories, if we decided to understand better what substantiate their concerns and addressed them instead of just dismissed them, only if we recognize our strengths and weaknesses we can grow stronger as a community.

We advocate for Speaking up-but this time, I invite you all to join us and start speaking, just speaking to each other, to create a strong bond and open communication for when the time comes we are ready to join our efforts and Speak up together. I invite you all to be part of this new chapter of Speak-up Summit and to participate actively in making the story of this wonderful community a story worth telling!