Advocate of the Year Award

Last week, our PTA President, Lisa Seigel, received the MCCPTA Advocacy Award for her work advocating on behalf of Rolling Terrace students and families.  Here are the notes from the program:

Upon receiving the MCCPTA Advocacy Award, Lisa gave these remarks:

It was my privilege to advocate this year on behalf of the Rolling Terrace students who play on the recess field every day.

But this effort would never have succeeded without the help of a huge number of parents that collaborated with me. Amy Wajda and Ally Piazza from Takoma Park Elementary were crucial partners.  And, many, many other parents from Rolling Terrace, Sligo Creek Elementary, Flora Singer Elementary, Wyngate Elementary and Somerset Elementary were also essential.

Thanks also go to Blair cluster coordinator Therese Gibson and DCC Area VP (now MCCPTA President) Lynne Harris. And, I most definitely would have given up on this effort were it not for the support of Board member Jill Ortman-Fouse. We also received the support of many school administrators including Rolling Terrace principal Kenneth Marcus. And also the support of Board members Jeanette Dixon and Shebra Evans, and councilmembers Tom Hucker, Hans Riemer and Marc Elrich. Thank you all.

Montgomery County is incredibly diverse and I am proud of MCPS for valuing the diversity of our student population and valuing equity so that every student can achieve academic success.

Equity in education means that we must differentiate our policies and practices to level the playing field for every student. We don’t do the exact same thing for every student because each student needs something different in order to thrive.

Addressing a school facility in a densely populated urban area in the exact same way as a school facility in a rural area is not equitable. The Rolling Terrace field was not getting what it needed to thrive.  Dr. Smith’s new Outdoor Playspace Maintenance Project, was recently funded by the County Council, and now the field may actually get what it needs to thrive, and that is really good news for the 900 Rolling Terrace students who play on it every day. Thanks, also to Dr. Zuckerman for helping to make this happen.

I would be remiss in accepting this award without acknowledging my own privilege. I had the time, the socioeconomic status and a growing network of connections who helped advocate for our field this year. If I hadn't, maybe our kids would be playing on mud again next year. So, I'd also like to dedicate this award to all the Rolling Terrace parents who want their kids to thrive at school just as much as I do and who also believe in a public education system that is just and equitable.

My hope for the future is that MCPS will always consider equitable approaches to facilities management, and to parental engagement and to all other areas of its practice.

And may all of our students have safe and healthy fields to play on!