Potter-Thomas All Star Volunteer: Luz Pratts

Posted on December 27, 2018
Categories: Featured FACEs, Multilingual Family Support

There’s something to be said about what a big difference a consistent parent volunteer makes at any school. The Potter-Thomas Promise Academy community has seen this firsthand through parent volunteer, Ms. Luz Pratts. Ms. Pratts, more affectionately known as “Ms. Luz” at Potter-Thomas, is a parent leader, a member of the School Advisory Council (SAC), and a regular volunteer at school. Ms. Luz has been volunteering for the past five years, and over time she has become a familiar and dependable figure at Potter-Thomas. Ms. Dywonne Davis-Harris, principal of Potter-Thomas says that Ms. Luz has become an invaluable part of the school community because “she’s here every day, all day.” Because of the consistency of her presence, Ms. Luz has become someone who both students and faculty recognize and rely on.

Luz Pratts (center) accepting the Family Leadership Award in October with (from left to right) School Improvement Support Liaison Rosa Lopez, Superintendent William Hite, Region Vice President of Community Investment, Comcast Robert F. Smith, and Principal Dywonne Davis-Harris.

Ms. Luz first started getting involved at Potter-Thomas when her youngest daughter started Kindergarten at the school. She initially visited the school in order to meet the other kids, get a gauge of the school climate and atmosphere, and see what the classroom and larger school community was like. Once she started visiting regularly, she began to help out around the school wherever it was needed.

Ms. Luz has been involved and has helped at Potter-Thomas in a variety of ways. She has participated in various school projects, attended and chaperoned school trips, helped out in the classroom, and lent a hand in the front office taking care of daily tasks. When asked what type of class trips she has attended, Ms. Luz responded that she has gone to the whole gamut: The Philadelphia Zoo, the aquarium, Franklin Institute, The Philadelphia Art Museum, Washington D.C. and many more. She delightfully said that she has enjoyed every single activity and trip that she has participated in.

With students, Ms. Luz has become a stable and familiar figure at school. Because of her consistent presence, she has been able to build many positive relationships with different students. Those relationships have allowed her to facilitate different methods of conflict resolution between students. Oftentimes, you will see students rush up to Ms. Luz to share their problems with her, and she will help them talk it out and reconcile with one another, and she will then inform teachers and school staff about what happened between students.

Ms. Luz also has many responsibilities outside of the classroom. She supports in the main office with administrative tasks such as making copies and answering calls. She helps maintain a positive climate in the school by managing the hallways and making sure that students are where they need to be. She also sits at the front desk of the school and welcomes visitors, keeping them accountable to signing in at the office first so that there is more general safety in the school. In the office, Ms. Luz sometimes helps provide translation supports to non-English speaking parents and students. She is also helpful in tracking the attendance of late students and has become involved in brainstorming strategies to improve attendance and provide attendance reconciliation. She’ll often talk to individual students directly about some of the causes and consequences of tardiness and absences.

Furthermore, Ms. Luz’s involvement at Potter-Thomas does not stop within the school walls. She doesn’t only help take care of tasks within classrooms and the front office, but she also serves as a liaison between the school staff and the community. Principal Davis-Harris shares that Ms. Luz is like a liaison between staff and parents. Because she has been a part of the Potter-Thomas school community for so long, even when parents come in confused or sometimes upset because they don’t understand certain protocols, Ms. Luz will be able to explain the policies and protocols to other parents.

Principal Davis-Harris shares that Ms. Luz also serves as a very beneficial community link because she lives across the street from the school. Because of that, Ms. Luz will easily inform Principal Davis-Harris when things have happened in the neighborhood such as road blockages, water leaks, and construction and she’ll also inform school leadership about what’s happening in the community and serve as a set of eyes and ears. Principal Davis-Harris says that knowing what’s happening in the larger neighborhood is crucial because it affects the school on a regular basis. Having insider information about the neighborhood helps Principal Davis-Harris take proactive leadership steps and plan ahead over the weekend to ensure a smooth Monday.

Principal Davis-Harris says, “Her [Ms. Luz] level of dedication is inspiring. She goes far above the call of duty.” She shared that Ms. Luz will even call in to let the school know on days when she cannot come in–just like a regular employee! One would think that it takes a large amount of motivation in order to keep someone volunteering on such a regular basis. However, when asked why she chooses to volunteer at school so often Ms. Luz said, “I like the school very much…I love the kids. I love being there.” The answer was so simple for Ms. Luz–she enjoys the students and loves the school that her children are a part of. With a positive spirit she would tell others: “To be more involved in school activities is fun! It’s fun to be there–you’ll learn. I’ve learned so much…” Ms Luz’s humble, willing attitude has brought her far in being an integral and important part of the Potter-Thomas community, and she is now someone who the school cannot imagine being without!