He was the only father among the 10 parents who attended a morning ceramics workshop at PS 154 in the South Bronx. As nine mothers watched in amusement, he hovered possessively over his creation. “It was an ashtray,” says Kimberly Chevere, whose son attends pre-K. “He even put his initials in it to protect it from his sister. He said she took all his ashtrays for herself. We were dying laughing.” Creating happily together was what visual arts teacher Kendra Brown envisioned when she and the school’s community director, Hady Mendez, invited parents on Dec. 19 to the Mott Haven school, one of the mayor’s community schools. December was ceramics month for the students. Brown thought their parents might enjoy a ceramics class of their own. They did. “They were excited and happy,” Brown says, “but kind of quiet and really focused on what they were making.” PS 154 is a small, neighborhood school of fewer than 400 students that faces an uncertain future. Designated a renewal school by Mayor Bill de Blasio, the struggling school with many high-needs students has received an infusion of resources and support. It must improve academically or it will be closed. Brown and her colleagues are committed to making the school a success — and a central part of the community. The ceramics workshop fit perfectly with the existing Monday morning coffee time for parents. For her part, Chevere dates her interest in ceramics to the 1990 megahit “Ghost,” in which Demi Moore’s grieving character spends much screen time at her pottery wheel. “Ever since that movie,” Chevere says, laughing, “I’ve wanted to do ceramics.” Though she and the other moms got a kick out of the man-made ashtray, Chevere chose to create an elegant bowl.
Related Topics: Struggling Schools
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