Underrepresented families gather with CPS staff
COLUMBIA – The Worley Street Roundtable hosted several community members for a meeting and luncheon on Sunday afternoon.
The goal of the organization is to bring together “underrepresented families, school personnel and community organizations.” At each meeting, the organization addresses issues in the Columbia Public School System.
“Some of our families and children were being left behind, so I started this organization as a way to build a village of support around families, particularly marginalized families or families from underrepresented groups and the teachers and schools that serve them,” said Dr. Adrian Clifton.
Clifton started the organization about four years ago. As both a teacher and a mother, Clifton said she has been able to see both sides of the aisle.
“We’re an organization that’s all about love, that’s all about peace, but accountability as well,” she said. “We’ve partnered with the Columbia Public School System.”
She said Sunday’s meeting was created to bring families and school personnel together.
“Community members come together and identify issues,” said Cristal Kroner, a board member on the Worley Street Roundtable.
According to Kroner, the meetings allow people to speak out about various issues they may be having within the school district. The group then helps come up with solutions on how to address the problems.
She said one of the group’s main goals this year is to provide support to families who may not know how to navigate the Columbia education system.
“To me, that’s just incredibly valuable work,” Kroner said. “Our parents love their children, and I think when we can all work together in this way to identify where those barriers are, those are the best solutions you can come up with.”
Like Clifton, Kroner also has children in the Columbia Public School System.
“It is so inspiring to work with this board,” Kroner said.
While many of the board members have children, some members found they related to the cause in other ways.
“Last year, my roommate and I got familiar with what Worley Street does and their mission through a couple friends of ours that were involved with the program,” Brittany Hughes said. “So we showed up one Sunday at a community dinner and just kind of kept coming.”
Hughes was brought on as a board member this summer. Before moving to Columbia, Hughes lived in St. Louis. She said she was a part of the community’s desegregation program. According to her, the experience helped her learn what she would want for her own children in the future.
“It’s really important to me that we have equity in all spaces of our education system,” she said.
Several people attended the meeting, including community members of all ages and backgrounds.
“It’s a really beautiful thing that happens at the Worley Street dinners,” Clifton said.