Fifth-grader Zuri Keith was studying a Popstar! magazine in the cafeteria at Central Park International Magnet School Tuesday morning, pointing out outfits she thought looked cool.
But instead of giggling over the glossy snapshots with a group of other 9-year-olds, she was at the table with her dad, Ray Bostick, who seemed happy to put in his two cents about the featured fashions.
Tuesday was Dads Take Your Child to School Day at the magnet school. Dads and father figures ushered backpack-toting kids into the cafeteria, where they shared breakfast and chatted about classes, cubbies and friends. If they had the time, the men were invited to stay for the entire day.
“It shows the students how important they are to the male role models who are bringing them to school today,” explained Tonya Federico, principal at the magnet school. “And it shows the students that school is important if the adult role model is here to support them in their education.”
It was Bostick’s first time at the school with his daughter.
“Usually I’m on the road
traveling from state to state and I was like, ‘You know what? I’m not gonna miss this. I’m gonna be here and it feels good.’ ”
Todd Summers was ready to go to class with his second-grade twins, Arwen and Treya.
Treya was eager to show him were her cubby was so he’d know where her stuff goes.
“I want to show him how I work in class,” Arwen piped up.
Summers, who serves in the U.S. Army, is being deployed Oct. 1, so this time with his daughters was especially precious.
“I try to stay involved as much as possible. We’ve tried to make this event each year and many of the other events that go on,” he said.
Laurence Spring, superintendent of the Schenectady City School District, made an appearance at the event, not in his capacity as the district’s leader, but as a dad. His first-grade daughter, Kaitlyn, and third-grader, Megan, gave him a tour of the school.
“As much as I’m in the schools and things, I don’t often get a chance to play that role with them and come in with them and just be Dad,” he said. “We have a lot of policy conversations at my house, so sometimes it’s just nice to talk about how school is a nice place to be.”
Dads Take Your Child to School Day is an annual, statewide event spearheaded by the state Office of Children and Family Services and the Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance.
Four other Schenectady schools — Lincoln Elementary, Martin Luther King Jr. Magnet School, Mont Pleasant Middle School and Family Priorities Mediated Solutions — also participated.
The goal of the event is to help fathers and other male role models engage in a child’s education, which can have a lasting effect on development and academic success.
Statistics gathered by the National Fatherhood Initiative show that children whose fathers take an active role in their lives do better academically, socially and behaviorally.