What’s It Like Having A Parent Working at Westridge?
Mr Baldwin with his two daughters.
At 7:30 in the morning, a rush of cars fills up the Westridge carline where tired parents drop off their kids and say their goodbyes, knowing they will not see them until after school. However, a handful of students and their parents make Westridge their final destination on a day to day basis.
Several benefits come with having a parent at school, like getting a snack when hungry or dropping extra stuff off at their office. “The pros are always having a parent to go to if there is a problem, always being able to get a parent signature every day, talking to him at the end of school, and going home together,” Stella B. ’21 said.
If needing guidance, students can talk to their parents anytime during the school day rather than waiting until they get home. “If I need any advice or help from my dad, he is always there in his office in Main Hall, so I could just walk in anytime,” Lola B. ’23 said. “He would help me on issues I have in class or if I am stuck on a homework problem. It is nice to have my dad near me at all times.”
Proximity to parental figures can provide more opportunities to connect, but for some students, there are a few challenges they face, such as a lack of privacy at school. Since the parents see their children at home and at Westridge, students may not get as much time away from their parent. “Being in my own space during school would be nice because I am always with [my mom] at home and also at school,” Mia G. ’25 said. “I can’t do anything without her knowing.”
At school, the students are largely known as their parents' daughter; however, many prefer to identify separately from their parents. “I was at the seventh-grade pool party, and all the seventh graders were like, ‘Oh it’s Ms. Bizar’s daughter!’ and not saying, ‘Oh, it’s Izzie,’” Izzie B. ’27 commented.
From the parents’ viewpoint, one challenge includes maintaining appropriate boundaries. “It is important to me that they have their own experience of high school and don’t have to live under the shadow of being the division director’s daughter, so I try to stay out of the way and let them have their own individual experience as much as they can,” said Gary Baldwin, Director of Upper School.
“It can be challenging if a situation arises in which a parent must engage in a personal conversation with a colleague regarding their child,” Kelly Block, Human Resources Coordinator, explained.
Aside from the challenges, many of the parents enjoy seeing their kids throughout the day. “This is the first job I’ve had that I can talk about with my family. For example ‘Hey, what did you think about Town Meeting today?’ or ‘Can you guys believe All Schools Day is coming--oh you don’t know what that is, let me tell you,” Dr. Lisa Carruthers, Director of Counseling and Student Support, said.
For most faculty member and kid duos, the benefits outweigh the challenges. “I love having faculty and staff children here,” Erica St. John, Upper School English faculty and Service Learning Coordinator, stated. “I think it just makes us a closer-knit community, and we get to know each other, colleagues, in different ways and it’s been really rewarding.”