An Engaged parent can make the difference

John Mavros

Often, the time, energy and love poured into children’s lives by parents goes unnoticed, barely recognized or taken for granted.   The Parent Support for Education Council, Inc. (PSFEC) is a group that recognizes the contributions of engaged parents and wants to encourage and support all parents/families and caring adults to optimize their contribution to their children.

PSFEC is please share the following:

Profile in courage: Determined, triumphant and engaged parents (Part 1 of 2)
By John Mavros

The following account was related to me by an amazing young lady named Moneshea Harris and her husband Javon Harris.  Three years ago, Moneshea started living a nightmare all too common to many living on the edge in our community.

It hadn’t always been a nightmare. Moneshea had just finished two years of college and worked seven years as a lead pharmacy technician for CVS. She had been supporting a five-year-old daughter and nine-year-old stepson, and was celebrating the return of her husband from serving time for a menial conviction.

Moneshea Harris

Moneshea Harris

Three years ago, Moneshea and husband heroically resolved school issues for her stepson (his son). Like many children in what are often called the five low-performing elementary schools of south St. Pete, their son’s behavior was off the chart.

At Melrose Elementary School, his third grade teachers had no clue how to deal with his behavior. He was a menace! Classified ADHD, he was noncompliant and considered a class clown. At times, he threw desks and chairs to intimidate authority figures and students alike.

When Moneshea learned he got candy and office messenger assignment privileges when he misbehaved, she decided that enough was enough. She met with the school intervention specialist, demanded an end to giving him “rewards” for bad behavior and asked school authorities to call her or her husband any time he acted out.

Thereafter, Moneshea often would be called to Melrose a few times every week for several months. She sat in class next to her son to get him to calm down. She’d even turn him and his desk away from the class at times so he couldn’t show off.

She and her husband saw that he completed the FCAT (now FSA) portfolios required to pass third grade. They obtained therapeutic family counseling at Suncoast to resolve the emotional trauma that caused their son’s rants. They applauded all progress.

Her husband set up and attended parent teacher conferences to discuss his son’s adjustment in school, and by fifth grade the boy received the Junior Turnaround Student of the Year Award from the Boys and Girls Clubs of St. Petersburg. They are proud that he is now a straight “A” student in middle school.

With acceptance and the support of Melrose Elementary School, this is a real life example of how parents and teachers can regain control of bad behavior.

Pastor Rainey is the former pastor of Faith Memorial MB Church, and currently serves as pastor of Community Outreach.  He serves as president of the Parent Support For Education Council, Inc. and Chairman (former), JWB South County Community Council, Co-Chair Council, Inc., and Chairman, JWB South County Community Council, Circuit 6 Faith & Community Network Steering Committee

PSFEC meets every third Thursday of each month @ 6:30 p.m. at Melrose Elementary School in the Library, 1752 13th Ave S, St. Pete.

You can contact Pastor Rainey at or (727) 420-1326.

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