FaCE Team Works To Engage Families, Community

Washington Middle School recently held a “Bring Your Parents to School” Day sponsored by the school’s Family & Community Engagement Committee. Pictured are: Gabriella Zampogna, Alyson Canfield, Patti Denzel, Melissa Brown and Mikayla Brown who were working on an equivalent fractions activity in Deb Rein’s fifth grade class.

Hundreds of Washington Middle School parents visited their child’s school during a recent “Take Your Parent to School” Day. Parents had the opportunity to go into classrooms and work on academically-orientated activities to get a firsthand view of what their child’s educational day looks like, and, how to help them at home. There were also many community organizations that provided handouts, Chautauqua Striders and Washington PTA had tables of information, and Northwest Arena donated free skating passes.

“A day like this gives parents an opportunity to get a picture of their child’s day,” said parent, Stephanie Norrod, who spent time with her child, Jazmyn in Patty Lefford’s fifth grade class. “It was also so great to see how Mrs. Lefford makes topics like ELA, science and math more interesting for students through hands-on learning.”

Fellow fifth grade parent, Shannon Card, who was visiting with her daughter, Lynea, agreed the day was a success.

“I knew that they were doing a biodome as part of their ELA rainforest unit because Lynea told me but it was great to see firsthand how the lessons were actually implemented. For example, when learning about the parts of a flower, they took the flower apart and also connected it to other studies the children are learning.”

The “Take Your Parents to School” Day is just one of many engagement opportunities for families and the community conceived by the school’s FaCE (Family & Community Engagement) Team.

“We are changing how we engage families in order to have more meaningful, academically-focused interactions,” said Washington Middle School teacher and FaCE committee member, Jen Cronin. “They visit classrooms, get to know teachers, and learn ways to assist their children with literacy at home. Our primary goal is to build relationships with families and welcome them into our school.”

Washington Middle School’s FaCE Team is part of a district initiative to shift from the traditional way of family and community involvement to actively engaging families in their children’s academic success. All School Improvement Plans have a section that is focused on improving family and community engagement.

In the new way of looking at engagement, families and community members are invited to be partners in children’s education in order to directly impact student’s academic success. The Washington Middle School FaCE Team already held a new type of open house this year. Instead of the traditional open house, the school created more meaningful, academically-focused interactions with parents. The school also plans to have a movie night for PBIS Gold Pass students and their parents the week before the NYS ELA tests to give parents tips on helping their child take the test. More activities and events will be added as the year goes forward.

The Washington Middle School FaCE Committee meets at least once a month and includes staff, parents and PTA members. A big thank you to the members of the Washington FaCE Committee for all their hard work: Assistant Principal Brent Sutter, Sue Cunningham, Jen Cronin, Stacie Daniels, PTA President Carrie Graham, Priscilla Menzies, Joe Miraglia and Kelsey Riley. If someone is interested in joining the Washington FaCE Committee, please contact the school’s main office at 483-4413.