Champions of Change

Pamela Grundy

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Six years ago, Shamrock Gardens Elementary was a struggling school with high poverty rates, low test scores, and dilapidated grounds. Most of the middle-class families living in nearby neighborhoods had abandoned it for magnet or private schools – but not North Carolina delegate Pamela Grundy. She saw Shamrock's potential, enrolled her son in kindergarten, and began to work to turn the school around.

Pamela negotiated with the school board to help secure resources. She engaged with teachers and staff to build enthusiasm. She wrote multiple grants to develop the school gardens and hold community-building events. She reached out to culturally and economically diverse parents to create an atmosphere that celebrates differences.

Today, Shamrock is surrounded by well-tended gardens, and houses a thriving "gifted" program for its advanced students, most of whom come from low-income families. Test scores have risen across the board, and the school recently received statewide recognition for its success in helping close the achievement gap. Teachers who once left the school now call to ask if there are openings, and middle-class families have started to come back.

In the process, Grundy has become one of the school district's most visible advocates for low-income students and high-poverty schools. She has fought successfully for guaranteed small classes in the schools that need them most. She writes frequent editorials for the Charlotte Observer, and uses her blog to highlight the real-life challenges and potential of schools such as Shamrock.

About Parents Involved in Education

Our nation’s economic competitiveness and the path to the American Dream depend on providing every child with an education that will enable them to succeed in a global economy that is predicated on knowledge and innovation. President Obama is committed to providing every child access to a complete and competitive education, from cradle through career.

The responsibility to do what is necessary to give every child a chance to succeed is shared by schools and family. As President Obama said in his State of the Union address, “It's family that first instills the love of learning in a child. Only parents can make sure the TV is turned off and homework gets done.” The partnership between parents, teachers, and schools will help us win the race to educate our kids.

Learn more about the PTA and how to get involved in education in your community.

Learn about other ways to get involved in education in your community through Mom Congress.

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