It's no secret that education is one of the keys to ensuring children are raised to become productive members of society. Dr. Steve Perry, the founder and principal of Capital Preparatory Magnet School and a speaker at the upcoming ESSENCE Festival, says all it takes to make this happen is a lot of love and hard work.
ESSENCE.com: Why has your Capital Preparatory Magnet School in Connecticut done so well?
Dr. Steve Perry: We love kids. When you love a child as an educator, you want to make sure they learn the right way. We've put together a team of people who care very deeply about the well-being of our children. It's nothing for our teachers to give their home phone numbers, come in on the weekend or before and after school.
ESSENCE.com: It's so impressive that 100% of your graduates go on to four-year colleges. How have you made this happen?
Dr. Perry: We have designed a school to send kids to college, from the academics to having two sports as a requirement and all the way down to the way we teach young people to greet one another.
ESSENCE.com: Why do you think certain schools around the country are failing and need so much work?
Dr. Perry: They are not designed to be successful. They are designed to meet the needs of the adults, not the needs of the children. We know children need us to come in early, stay late and develop a specific relationship with them like an advisor. Some allegedly teach four courses a day and have a duty-free lunch where no one can say anything to them during that time. They also come in 10 minutes before school starts and leave 10 minutes after. There's a lack of commitment to running good schools that meet children's needs.
ESSENCE.com: What can parents do to ensure their children are receiving the proper education?
Dr. Perry: We need parents to establish an environment at home where children can do homework with specific study hours. The finer points of teaching should be left up to educators.
ESSENCE.com: Your Save Our Sons Foundation helps to prepare young men for success in their adult lives. Can you share more about it?
Dr. Perry: It's an organization we started after the "Save My Son" television show to provide parents with support as they raise their sons. An unfortunate circumstance in the Black community is too many brothers aren't handling their business as fathers. The foundation is focused on doing what we can to support women who are raising children by themselves without the support of a man. We offer e-mentoring, which allows parents, their sons, and an individual to develop a relationship online. They can e-mail, text, Skype and Face Time with a caring adult anywhere in the world.
Hear more of Dr. Steve Perry's views on education during the ESSENCE Festival Empowerment Experience in New Orleans during July 4th weekend.