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Good Showing

Ripley Open House Not Just For Parents

Ripley sixth-graders relax for a bite to eat as they serve at the spaghetti dinner. Photos by David Prenatt

RIPLEY — Ripley Elementary school recently hosted its first open house since the school was accepted as an EL education school. The excitement and enthusiasm was palpable. The halls and classrooms hummed with activity. And the results were evident.

There were a lot of firsts at the open house. The event drew the best attendance in years with more than 90 percent parent/guardian attendance. The school hosted a free flu clinic during the event and more than 150 diners partook of the spaghetti dinner. The book fair sold more than $1,600 in less than two hours.

Ripley curriculum coordinator Erin Wheeler said the school has been focusing on developing leadership skills in six-grade students.

“This year at the Open House the sixth grade helped serve a spaghetti dinner. This was an opportunity for the students to put their leadership skills into action,” she said.

The spaghetti dinner also helped to make community connections, Wheeler said. Several community members who don’t have school-age children came to enjoy the spaghetti dinner and tour the school.

The book fair at Ripley Elementary School’s open house was highly successful.

“Building community partnerships and serving our local community are core practices of EL Education that benefit our students and the Ripley community as a whole,” she said.

Several organizations attended the open house as well. Youth wrestling, Girls Scouts, and the UB Dental Van all took part. Furthermore, community members were invited to walk through the school to see what EL education was all about.

“As a new EL Education school, we are working to unite staff, students, parents and the community around an inspirational vision of student success as scholars, ethical people, and citizens,” said Ripley Superintendent Dr. Lauren Orsmby. “Open House is a forum for us to communicate the vision in an effort to sustain the community’s investment in and enthusiasm for the school’s aspirations, growth and success.”

Cindy Rice, the EL school designer assigned to help Ripley in its transition, attended the event to speak with parents and staff about the benefits of EL education.

“Ripley Central School embodies the spirit of EL Education’s vision and mission, where students achieve more than they think possible, becoming active contributors to building a better world,” Rice said. This open house provided a joyful example of putting this vision into action.”

Visitors to the art room at Ripley elementary school learn about the programs in place.

Tammy Berg of the Adult Education and Workforce Development Section of Erie 2 BOCES also attended the open house, not to speak with students, but to provide an opportunity for adults to learn about educational opportunities.

Berg works with adults who need to get their GED or brush up on math or reading skills for their jobs. She also assists those who need training in English as a second language.

“I target both the parents and the older siblings. Many people weren’t successfully able to complete school because of what happened in their lives. Others need assistance developing particular skills for their job,” Berg said.

“Here at open house, I see parents being excited about education, and their little children make them think “maybe I could do this now,” Berg said. “It’s a good time to nab them.”

Wheeler said Berg’s presence was an important element of the open house. “This is a new thing, a new connection to us,” she said. “We’ve asked, ‘how do we partner with other organizations that can benefit our families?’ and this is one way we’re doing that.”

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