Community and partnership sets the stage for student success
Posted on 09/12/2019
 Parents watch as students work at a table

There is a buzz of excitement coming from the gym as young students eagerly wait their turn to learn a new game. No, it isn’t time for physical education. It is Yorkshire Elementary Kindergarten Title 1 Family Engagement Night! Families and students come together to learn fun and engaging ways to practice reading and math skills at home.

This annual after-school event provides families with an opportunity to build a better understanding of the academic expectations their children face at school. Parents also learn how they can continue to support reading and math at home. Teachers, administrators, translators, and other staff all play a role in making the evening a success.

On one side of the gym, teachers show students and parents how to play a fast-paced dice game that enhances counting and numeral recognition skills. On the other side of the room, children are listening and watching as teachers share the writing process with parents. Students are also identifying letters in the alphabet and practicing letter sounds.

Supervisor of Title 1 and Early Literacy Michelle Rowe offers this perspective, “While parent and family engagement is a compliance requirement of Title I, it's truly an essential school support needed to improve student achievement. It's critical that school and Division leaders build a culture of true school- family partnerships. Having a culture where everyone believes that all families have the capacity and desire to support their students' learning doesn't just happen. It requires planning, professional learning about best practices, and monitoring just as any other school support initiative does. Yorkshire has been one of the Title I schools to make a concerted effort to participate in professional development about family engagement and is establishing strong family-school connections linked to student learning!”

Indeed, building a sense of community is a critical component of Title 1 Parent and Family Engagement events. Yorkshire Principal Lyn Marsilio is passionate about welcoming families as an integral part of the school community. “The involvement of parents and other family members is critical for the success of our students.” said Marsilio. “Engaging parents at the very beginning of the year helps set a feeling of community and partnership.”

As the event winds down, children leave with a free book along with copies of the games and activities they have just experienced, and parents leave with new ways to support their young learners. Melany, a student in Ms White’s class exclaimed, “This was so much fun!” And the smile on her face is evidence that she means what she says.