Today we connect with Principal Elizabeth Bricker to talk about “Breakfast with Mrs. Bricker”, which she hosts for parents at St. William the Abbot School in Seaford. Principal Bricker hosts this special morning meeting for parents in various grade levels. They begin the morning by attending Mass, followed by time together to share breakfast and discuss topics relevant to the school and their students.
Emily Guarnieri: Have you done this in years past? Or is this your first time doing a Breakfast with Mrs. Bricker?
Principal Elizabeth Bricker: We started this program last year in response to Covid and the isolation we were all feeling. It was a way to reintroduce parents to the many great things happening at St. William the Abbot School in addition to providing an opportunity for parents to either connect or re-connect.
EG: Looks like you had a great turnout! Why do you think parents are so active at your school?
EB: Parents are very active at our school through the Home-School Association, School Board, Father’s Club, and volunteering. They want the best possible experience for their children and believe in the mission of SWS, resulting in a very active parent group.
EG: What has been the most surprising thing you have learned from parents during these breakfasts?
EB: That they don’t like Dress Down Days! Too stressful choosing outfits for their children!
EG: Community is important to Catholic Schools. How important is it that parents get to know one another?
EB: Parents getting to know one another is extremely important in building a strong community as well as creating a support system for both students and parents. Through collaboration among parents, we receive great feedback on the many ways in which we are raising the bar, and ways in which we can lift our students even higher.
EG: Breakfast and coffee can be decisive. 😉 Do you have divisions, like #teamStarbucks vs. #teamDunkin. ??
EB: No one has expressed any preference!
EG: I guess when there is good company, good coffee works no matter what. Let’s talk about alumni, are a lot of your parents today former students of SWA? What do those parents say about your school then versus your school now?
EB: Yes, and they say that the sense of family has remained the same, as well as the commitment to excellence. Parents have viewed, and continue to view SWS, as a leader in Catholic education on Long Island. In terms of what has changed, parents often indicate that the world around us is changing but are grateful for the stability SWS provides for their children.
EG: Have the breakfasts inspired any exciting plans for events and activities at St. William the Abbot?
EB: We did host a parent information session to inform parents about our learning platform, Schoology. Parents expressed that they were unsure as to all the features so we hosted a nighttime class for parents. We also added a “Virtual Backpack” to our school webpage in response to a request at one of the breakfasts for a central repository of school flyers – one stop shopping to find pertinent school information.
EG: As a principal, what is the feeling you get after meeting with your school parents?
EB: I am always elated after these meetings as they prove to be honest and frank discussions on the many challenges parents face and the many ways we as a community are meeting the needs of our students. We laugh, we tackle issues, we brainstorm, and we solve problems. These meetings are extremely satisfying from my standpoint as well as the parents’ standpoint, based on the feedback I receive. The work we do in our Catholic schools, and SWS in particular, is continually affirmed during these discussions! ◼️