A Thriving Parents' Association: Building Community during a Pandemic

  • Dyslexia News
Mary McNulty, Parent & Alumni Coordinator

Just as Carroll School has been educating children with language-based learning differences for more than 50 years, so too has the Carroll School Parents’ Association (PA) been enriching the Carroll experience for students, parents, and families. No one understands the vital role of a Parents’ Association better than Head of School, Steve Wilkins:

“At Carroll, the PA’s role has been to enhance a positive community culture. The Carroll Parents' Association knows its role so clearly, and our community has thrived with that clarity. This gift to the Carroll community enables the teaching faculty to stay focused on the education of our children. The PA adds connectivity, fun, significance, and expressions of gratitude to the Carroll family.”

Every year, Carroll is fortunate to have an active group of parents who devote time and energy to finding creative ways of building and strengthening our community. Due to the pandemic and lack of ability to come together in person, the PA’s work has never been more important. We are grateful to the strong group of PA leaders and Grade Representatives who have embraced this challenge and created opportunities for parents, students, and families at the pod level, grade level, and across the community. Especially important this year is the PA’s commitment to find unique and inspired opportunities to welcome our new families, many of whom had never been to campus before arriving on the first day.

PA Co-Presidents, Jolie Helmbrecht and Anne Plante, share their thoughts on this year’s very different experiences:

Jolie Helmbrecht 

"The Carroll PA looks to elevate the parent community experience in conjunction with the superb targeted education received by our children. We work to engage the geographically separated community through a variety of activities with the hope of meeting their needs and interests. I was motivated to join with others in the Parents’ Association both as a way to give back to this school that has improved the life of my child as well as to expand my personal network of Carroll parents. While this year is not what any of us expected or anticipated, we have seen many pillars of light in the difficult days we have been through. I am particularly proud that the PA has been inclusive and thorough in taking into account the needs of Carroll’s administration, staff, teachers, new and returning families and students in all of our decision making."

Anne Plante

"Carroll parents come to the school from more than 80 different cities and towns and yet we’re bound to each other by our shared experience of advocating for the education our children deserve. In this year of COVID, however, we are separated not only by geography, but by a world that requires social distancing and remote learning. Our community depends on the Parents’ Association more than ever before to:

  • Encourage “coming together” by parents and kids
  • Expand opportunities for parents to learn about how our kids learn
  • Expand participation in thoughtful evaluation and learning around diversity, equity and inclusion
  • Provide our kids with examples of inspiration and joy
  • Support and thank Carroll’s exceptional faculty and staff 

I am thrilled that we have been and will continue to use Zoom to involve more families in our activities, host events and speakers that we may not have had access to otherwise, and connect our kids socially in age-appropriate ways. 
Getting involved with the Parents’ Association was important to me because I want to take an active role in continuing to build and maintain a strong community for my kids. Of particular interest to me is partnering with Osa Osagie and the DEI work Carroll is doing, and finding ways we can improve and expand our understanding of our individual and collective role in these issues."

The PA started the year off with this wonderful VidHug video welcoming parents to Carroll and here are a few highlights from the PA Event Calendar:

Parents Association Events

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