District Hosts Virtual National African American Parent Involvement Day for Families
More than 1,300 parents attended the Mount Vernon City School District’s virtual National African American Parent Involvement Day on Monday, Feb. 8, the districtwide event for parents and caregivers of its students in Pre-Kindergarten (Pre-K) through Grade 12. This year, the event was hosted virtually through Zoom with each of the District’s 16 schools hosting its own video conference for its respective families.
The day-long event offered informational sessions and unique opportunities for parents to see their students’ classrooms, understand what they are learning, see how they are socializing, and discover the fun they have each day.
“Did you know that parent involvement is one of the most important factors to influencing a child’s academic success? Research has proven time and time again, when parents are involved, they make a huge difference,” said Superintendent Dr. Kenneth R. Hamilton. “I encourage you to make your child’s education a priority in your life so that your child can experience the kinds of learning, social emotional learning, and social interactions that will make him or her very successful as they journey through our educational system.”
Principals and parent liaisons led the day at each of their schools offering parents a variety of live presentations, school-organized workshops on the different programs at the school, and parent support workshops that showed parents tips for assisting with remote learning, social emotional learning, and extra-curriculars, among other activities.
In addition to an address by the principal, each school’s virtual event included a video on the history of Mount Vernon’s Parent Involvement Day from one of the event’s original founding members, Dr. Charles Jarvis.
“Held on the second Monday of African American History Month, Parent Involvement Day is an initiative that came out of the Million Man March. Mount Vernon is very fortunate to have this initiative as a part of its mantra. Mount Vernon, itself, has been recognized nationally for some of the contributions that Parent Involvement Day have created. In the year 2000, Black Entertainment Network came to the District to report on National African American Parent Involvement Day and the contribution of the Mount Vernon City School District,” said Jarvis.
Since 1995, school districts across the U.S. have observed National African American Parent Involvement Day as a way to encourage parents to promote involvement in their child’s education, provide strategies for parents to take full advantage of the educational process at all levels of the educational system, identify partnerships between sectors of the community, and offer workshops to help eliminate the achievement gap.
Parents and caregivers in attendance at Monday’s virtual event were introduced to their child’s school parent liaisons and were shown a presentation from the Parent Teacher Association that focused on opportunities for parent engagement including access to various digital resources and school dashboards. Before moving to parent workshops, each school welcomed a guest speaker and hosted a Q&A session for parents and caregivers in attendance.
The remainder of the day was broken up into various workshops that parents could engage in. Parents could choose from a variety of 30-minute school-organized workshops, organized by and customized to individual schools, covering topics such as technology, how parents can support a child’s literacy at home, informational presentations on the District’s three high school of choice, college and career readiness initiatives, as well as information on AVID, or Advancement Via Individual Determination, a program designed to help underachieving students with high academic potential prepare for entrance to colleges and universities.
Parent support workshops included topics such as tips for in-person and remote learning; the impacts of trauma on social emotional learning in the community; a presentation from school psychologist, guidance counselor, or other support staff; ENL (English as a New Language), special education; Academic Power Hour and the District’s Summer Academy; and other extracurricular activities.
After a brief break for lunch, parents and caregivers were welcomed back to the day’s event with an hour-long interactive program, including yoga, meditation, nutrition health and wellness, a cooking demonstration, menu planning, and art and music before closing remarks by school principals.