City Paper is not for tourists
At the end of this past school year, Ballou Senior High‘s graduating class hauled in close to $2 million in scholarship money. This was one of Kimberly Morton‘s many responsibilities. Morton worked at Ballou coordinating outside partnerships which translates into making sure students work the scholarship beat and corporations and charitable nonprofits take an interest in the Congress Heights school. At the end of the school year, Morton was laid off.
Kevin Green was the school’s parent coordinator. In March, he held a training for parents, schooling them on the academic, emotional, and social aspects of the school. The course is designed to turn these parents into advocates for their children’s education and leaders within Ballou. They wanted 30 parents. They got 15 to complete and graduate from the course.
“A lot of parents come up and don’t know how to get through the system,” Green explains. It’s his job to walk them through it. Sometimes, he will do home visits if the parent can’t make it to Ballou. He turned into a truancy officer on the day of standardized testing. Last school year, 63 percent of the 10th grade showed up for the test. This year, 98 percent showed up. At the end of the year, Green was laid off.
Both Morton and Green were victims of budget cuts in a school that needs all the help it can get. The school has a dysfunctional PTA at best and needs that go well beyond addressing peeling paint.
You might be thinking: Who cares about a school taking a few hits in the adm office? But schools need people like Morton and Green, people that motivate seniors for college life and motivate parents to get involved. Ballou Principal Karen Smith calls the cuts a “huge blow.”
Most likely, the responsibilities that Morton and Green took on will have to be made up by Smith. She’s not sure if she can juggle the extra workload and run Ballou. “I’m not saying I won’t do those things, but I can’t do both in a quality way,” she says.