Mrs. Angle’s voice boomed out of my phone’s speaker “can you come to my office Ms. Rizzo, it’s very important that I speak to you.” As I walked down the hall I thought “I hope we don’t have another case of peanut up the nose, last time that was brutal! “
I am the Parent Liaison for Buckingham Middle School here in Houston Texas and Mrs. Angle is my principal and supervisor. Mrs. Angle was always looking for projects that we could use to strengthen the academics of our students; projects that would ensure our parents participation.
I wondered what she had for me to research this time, “oh well,” I thought” as long as it did not involve killer whales,” because after what had happened at Sea World previously I had decided never to get in a tank with a killer whale no matter how many lunches or how much comp time that Mrs. Angles promised me. Chuckling to myself, I opened her office door and peeked inside.
“Come in,” she said waving her hand toward a chair, “please sit down, I have something to discuss with you.” I gingerly sat on a soft cushioned chair, balancing myself on the edge of the seat. She came straight to the point. “Have you heard of the thirty million word gap?” she asked. I shook my head and said, “no, I have not.” She continued explaining, “A Chicago University has done a new study that found that children from poverty are exposed to thirty million fewer words over their first 3 years of life, than children that are born into wealth! “This gap continues to widen throughout their school years, on into adult hood and is passed from generation to generation!” she exclaimed. “I want you to find this study, and determine how our families here at Buckingham can benefit from this knowledge.”
I just looked at her, not because I found the idea preposterous, on the contrary, I was so stunned by excitement that I felt as if my insides were turning into lemon jello (it would have to be lemon, I cannot tolerate any other kind), all giggly inside. “Someone has been doing their research,” I said, and since 90% of the children attending our school lived in impoverished homes this immediately caused me to wonder what steps we could take to raise their academic levels here at Buckingham.
Holding my emotions inside, I looked her straight in the eye, and said “let’s do it, tell me more.” Little did I know that we were embarking on a fabulous adventure that would bring the families at our school to new heights academically? Nor did I know that our parents would avail themselves and support our efforts with such sacrifice to help their children reach their goals. Lastly I did not know the city of Houston would involve itself in an incredible way. Anyway, let us see what happens in chapter 2.