Parent Involvement Day Welcomes VIP Guests… Very Important Parents!
Mount Vernon City Schools welcomed hundreds of parents and caregivers on Monday, February 11 for its district-wide Parent Involvement Day. The annual event provides unique opportunities for parents to see just what their children are up to all day, including activities for learning, socializing and fun unique to each school. Once again, the day was a huge hit!
At Holmes Elementary, student ambassadors welcomed parents for a good morning breakfast – served by PTA members and school staff – to kick off their school’s festivities.
“We really look forward to Parent Involvement Day every year,” said Holmes Elementary Principal Danielle Davis-Morrow. “Not only are our parents coming in to watch what we’re doing; we get them actively involved with the children.”
Along with attending regularly scheduled classes with their children, parents at Holmes Elementary attended a schedule of specially planned workshops and events, including a Brazilian Jui Jitsu demonstration during gym, a Vision Board Workshop in the art room, a presentation by the Junior Honor Society and a Technology Workshop.
“Many of our teachers schedule activities for parents to take part in,” said Davis-Morrow. “And, some of our parents also talk about their own careers, which gives children an understanding of different careers that are out there for them.”
A parent appreciation luncheon at Holmes Elementary was followed by a Dads vs. Students basketball game to wrap up the day.
At the new STEAM Academy, Principal Sharon M. Bradley and her staff kicked off the day with the Principal’s Coffee Clutch, which included a challenging activity for parents, facilitated by representatives from Discovery Learning. The activity applied the project-based learning approach that is an important facet of STEAM education.
“We’ve had PTA meetings, we’ve sent home letters, but this is the first opportunity parents have had to come here and experience the STEAM Academy,” said Bradley. “Using only newspaper, Scotch™ tape and scissors, we asked teams of parents to use their critical thinking skills, communicate and collaborate to see which group could build the tallest free-standing structure. It was a great ice-breaker.”
Mount Vernon has been partnering with Discovery Learning over the past couple of years for teacher and administrator trainings. Mrs. Bradley explained that the current approach is to encourage students to think independently, and to design and create collaboratively with their peers.
Discovery Education facilitator Kimberly Wright gave the morning’s keynote address.
“Our program focuses on engaging all types of learners – STEAM for all,” said Wright. “We have students look at real world situations and experience hands-on learning using real world scenarios that prepare them for the problems our world is facing.”
It is an educational approach that embraces the importance of the Four C’s – Critical Thinking, Creativity, Communication and Collaboration – and encourages incorporating them into the classroom. Throughout the day, Academy teachers presented lessons and workshops focused on STEAM education and this experiential approach to learning.
“One of the biggest keys to getting students to graduate high school and follow through with vocational or college education is having parental and community involvement in school,” said Wright. “Parents can more easily support what their kids are learning when they know what is going on in the school.”
Principal Davis-Morrow shared the same sentiment with those gathered at Holmes Elementary.
“What I always point out to parents is that parental involvement is the key to academic success,” said Davis-Morrow. “So, the more you are involved as a parent, the more successful your child can be as a student.”
Lincoln Elementary School Principal Rebecca Jones stated, “We see ourselves as an extension of our students’ families, so it’s always a pleasure hosting Parent Involvement Day at Lincoln School. Parents have the opportunity to not only sit in their child’s classes and see what a day of learning looks like, but it also allows them to take part in meaningful workshops that can enhance their understanding of student expectations and the ways they can assist their children at home.”