The Smoke Signal, MSJ's Official Newspaper


Recently Formed PAC Hopes to Unite MSJ Community

By Staff Writers Helen Tian & Selina Yang

The Parents Advocacy Committee (PAC), an initiative that aims to foster communication between parents and teachers, was formed on Oct. 21, 2020 as part of Mission Possible Parent & Teacher Faculty (MPPFA). Intending to improve the school culture in light of criticisms about MSJ culture, PAC provides an open platform for parents, teachers, and students to bring up and discuss issues regarding equitable treatment and access to education.

Founded in 1995, MPPFA is a non-profit organization that has provided financial support and thousands of volunteer hours for MSJ students. Last year, they funded $3800 for a student wellness center, served on MSJ’s Inclusion Council, and provided 33 laptops for teachers to use in remote learning. 

The MPPFA board members first proposed the creation of PAC during  the MPPFA 2020-21 School Year Meeting on Aug. 19, 2020. They hoped PAC would build realistic expectations and help align the perspectives of parents and teachers. “We hope to bring all the parties to the table in a constructive and collaborative way to solve misalignment of expectations,” MPPFA President Irshad Rasheed said.

PAC started as a group of parents who wanted to dedicate a space for advocacy, building bridges between parents and school staff. Over the past few months, they have been working on defining the roles and goals of PAC. Having observed the struggles parents and students face in understanding the current school systems and processes, PAC Member Amrita Mehrok said, “The objective of PAC is to ensure that we are helping our parent and student community really understand the processes that were in place for them to be able to raise their concerns to get them addressed and to educate them about the set processes.”

They have also been working closely with the teachers and administrators to receive the school’s feedback on their formation and purpose. On February 18, PAC Chair Shubha Kashinath presented PAC at the MSJ faculty meeting to bring the staff on board with PAC’s purpose.

Though PAC has yet to be officially introduced to the MSJ student and parent body, the MPPFA student representatives have high hopes. “I think PAC [will] help bring light to a lot of issues and create awareness. Hopefully then, we’ll be moving a step in the right direction, towards actually solving the issues,” MPPFA Sophomore Class Student Representative Prajit Rajkumar said. 

Now that PAC has received the school’s positive response and approval, they hope to start working directly with the MSJ community soon. PAC meetings will be open to students, parents, and teachers. In addition, they have an inquiry form on their page where parents can share their concerns or questions about MSJ’s education system anonymously.  

MPPFA’s PAC is the first in FUSD, and the committee hopes to serve as a model for other schools to follow suit with their own parent advocacy committees to become a long lasting part of parent-teacher associations. “We’ll … bring this change at the district where we can bring processes that simplify how long standing issues can be resolved quickly, effectively, and equitably,” Rasheed said.

Cover image by News Editor Alina Zeng

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