Marchell Boston, principal of Stone Mill Elementary School, has been connecting parents and teachers for more than a decade.
Boston has been an educator for 16 years, beginning his career in 1996 at Ronald E. McNair Middle School as a teacher, then counselor. He graduated from Southwest DeKalb High School.
From the time he was in elementary school until he graduated from college, Boston said, his parents were involved in his education. He said having parents who were so instrumental in his success is what motivates him to be so passionate about connecting Stone Mill with the community.
“Often times parents don’t understand how things have changed in schools from when they were in school and there’s a misunderstanding,” Boston said. “I think it’s an issue because there’s a lack of communication.”
Boston also said his parents stressed the importance of representing his community, which is why he has remained in south DeKalb.
The first time Boston held an event to connect parents with teachers and school staff was when he was a counselor at McNair Middle. He held a parent meeting at an apartment complex off Flat Shoals Road.
Last year, Boston was principal of Ronald E. McNair Discovery Learning Academy and returned to those same apartments off Flat Shoals Road to host a block party.
“The intent was to raise student achievement by linking with parents and the community,” Boston said.
Boston said that the school had decided to visit the apartment complex where most of their students lived to go straight to the source to reach parents.
“This was an opportunity for us to form and cultivate relationships and promote active engagement as we raise student achievement,” Boston said.
Stone Mill is the third school where Boston has served as principal and at each one he has implemented programs to link the community to the school. He has also added the word “Super” in front of Stone Mill’s name.
Recently, the teachers at Stone Mill prepared breakfast for more than 100 parents at the school for a meet-and-greet.
“I guess you could say I’m the community principal,” Boston said.
In the past, Boston said there was a feeling within the community that parents and teachers were partnering to teach their children. However, he said some of that has been lost and more often than not, he’s finding there’s an adversarial relationship between some parents and teachers.
“I think that has to do with communication,” Boston said. “I believe the success is a result as humbling ourselves of educators and creating an inviting environment for all parents.”
In addition to events such as block parties and field days, Boston said, Stone Mill also has the Most Valuable Parent Program (MVP).
“With the MVP program, parents earn points for volunteering at the school,” Boston said. “We want to have something for everyone to do so they feel they’re useful to the school; and we want to engage everyone regardless of their socioeconomic and educational level.”