Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Parent University

Over 400 members of our school community enjoy a meal together at Parent University.
Parent University is an event we hold at our school 3-4 evenings a year.  This idea was conceived as we worked on a school improvement plan that called for strategies to get parents involved in their children's education.  A group of teacher leaders worked with me to design an event that would bring parents to the school to learn about what was going on in our classrooms on a daily basis.
Parents become students during information sessions at Parent University.

The first year of its conception had us running a large group event with breakout sessions specific to grade-level needs.  The first events were attended by a small percentage of parents and only one or two teachers per grade level were present.  Over the past two years, we have grown Parent University into an event that has regularly had 300-400 attendees with every teacher in our building being involved.  How do we get families to come?  We provide a meal which is paid for by our Parent Advisory Council.  We also provide free daycare for families who have children younger than elementary age.  We also not only have the parents in sessions learning about curriculum and instruction, but we have sessions for the students to come and do some fun learning activities.  Then, parents and students get back together to do some learning together.  It has been a recipe for success!

Parents work with their children on research.

The Parent University event we held in February drew over 400 people (parents and students combined).  Our school community shared a meal and an evening of learning.  These events not only keep parents informed of what their children are learning, they also solidify relationships between the home and the school.  Our community comes together to show our students that school is important and enjoyable.  Their presence at the events shows their children that they value what is happening in our school on a daily basis.  My staff does an amazing job of providing parents with the tools they need to be more involved in their childrens' education through the design of high-quality information sessions.  I am very grateful to have such a supportive school community!

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