As a mother of four, Kellie McCline has always been an active parent when it comes to her children’s education.
“The things that are a priority to you, you make sure you get them done,” she said. “My kids are my priority, and I don’t make any apologies for that.”
McCline’s youngest daughter, Malaysia attends University Prep Science and Math Elementary where McCline serves as a Parent Leader. “One thing that I’m learning is that at charter schools, the parents are the clients,” she said. “The schools, management companies, and foundations have to understand that.”
When she was pregnant with Malaysia, McCline began researching schools for her child. She looked all over the city for the best options for her unborn child. When Malaysia, now 8-years-old, was preparing for preschool, McCline found UPSM Elementary.
“I was on my way to another school visit, and I don’t know what it was, maybe traffic, but I found UPSM,” McCline said.
Her experience with school districts helped her ask informed questions, but a family tragedy involving Malaysia made McCline hyper-sensitive to her child’s need for a safe and nurturing environment.
“I loved that the school was gated,” she said. “I was taken aback by how bright it was. The aesthetics were beautiful,” McCline said of the renovated UPSM Elementary building. The Detroit resident said she walked into the doors of the school and immediately signed up for an open house tour. Between Mrs. Graham’s warming welcome and Principal Solomon’s bright demeanor, McCline was sold on the school for Malaysia.
Now entering her final year at UPSM Elementary, McCline has found her role in the Detroit Voice for School Choice network. “It takes more than just academics to attract and keep parents at the school,” she said. McCline believes that the partners of DVSC “make parents feel like they’re a part of the school.”
With middle school on the horizon, McCline expressed concern over her level of involvement in Malaysia’s education. “How pervasive is my advocacy voice in a middle school?” She hopes to lean on other parent leaders and the leaders of DVSC to help expand her knowledge and strengthen the influence she has in her daughter’s education.
“It’s easier to pay attention to a parent that’s involved than to someone who isn’t.”
Malaysia is currently apart of the nationally ranked UPSM Chess Team. McCline says she took a break from the game last year to focus on karate and soccer, but her love for chess couldn’t keep her away. “The reward I get when she wins her games is all I need.”
“I’ve always been a huge advocate for my children,” McCline said. She joined the DVSC network after attending a parent meeting. Through her training at DVSC, McCline feels more confident when making decisions for Malaysia’s education.
“I thought of it as an opportunity to teach other parents and learn new things about myself,” she said. Now equipped with new knowledge, McCline is ready to suit up and take the fight for school choice to the political level.