PA Organizes Events To Bring Sidwell Community Together

Sidwell’s Parents Association (PA) plays an instrumental role in organizing events for all divisions of the school and serves as a place for Sidwell parents to come together and embrace shared values.

The PA consistently works to improve the quality of student life, regardless of whether or not school is in session. PA parents also represent the school to prospective families.

Former Parents of Asian Students All-School Clerk Ginger Dietrich says that her time on the PA taught her that “there are three vital components in the school community — the students, the school and the parents.”

In addition to enhancing student life by leading events for students, the PA organizes prom and arranges for chaperones at other events. For example, the day after both the Girls’ and Boys’ Basketball Teams won DCSAA titles, an Upper School PA Clerk brought ice cream for everyone to celebrate as a community. In the upcoming months, the Parents of Latinx Students and the High School Latin American Society will organize a food drive for Food Justice DMV. The PA also plans to hold its annual ninth-grade pie bake this November.

Upcoming PA events include an event featuring track athlete Felix Sanchez; a food drive for Food Justice DMV, which is organized by the Parents of Latinx Students and the Latin American Society; the ninth-grade grade pie bake, which will happen on campus this November; and the MLK Day of Service and Learning in January, which begins a month of community engagement.

PA All-School Clerks Janie Song and Jennie McConagha described the group’s goal as “[seeking] to facilitate connections and communications among the entire school community of parents, guardians, families, faculty, administrators and trustees.”

Song and McConagha added that the PA “strives to foster an inclusive community while upholding Quaker values,” including being consistently present for Sidwell families and engaging in thoughtful dialogue with the administration.

Parent involvement at Sidwell begins in the Lower School. Lower School parents have the option to become a room parent for their child’s class, a role in which they work with teachers to help keep other parents informed about their children’s learning, upcoming events and anything else of interest. Room parents also provide support with special projects, field trips and holiday celebrations.

“This teamwork benefits the students, creates a community of collaboration and partnership and ultimately leads to a stronger SFS community,” Dietrich said.

The PA is unique in its approach to the issues of equity and service. Looking back, former Upper School PA Grade Representative Terri Weissman is especially proud of the PA’s organization of service projects.

Each year, every grade works on a PA-organized service project.

“These projects, from the planning to their implementation, help create a community of care at Sidwell, which I feel grateful to be a part of,” Weissman said.

Previous projects include baking pies at Thanksgiving, providing eyeglasses to those who would otherwise lack access to prescription lenses and supporting Ukrainian children affected by the ongoing war and currently living in orphanages.

The PA also holds events to bring the community closer together. Recently, the PA hosted the Back to School Picnic, which was held for the first time in years.

“[I]t was heartwarming to see so many students, parents and guardians on campus mingling and having a great time,” Song and McConagha said.