By Tamra Taylor, Superintendent Live Oak School District
The Live Oak School District greatly values the input and perspective of our students’ parents. During our Local Control Accountability Planning process last Spring, we heard from parents that they wanted more opportunities to come to the school with their children and have fun learning about a topic together so that can better support their child’s learning. Based on this input, we developed paid teacher and parent liaison positions at each school site to create and host a Family Learning Night.
Each school’s team will work together with the principal to plan a dynamic evening that includes interactive activities for parents and their children to engage in together. The events will conclude with families taking home materials to further extend their exploration of the topic. (For example, if a school selects literacy as the topic for the Family Learning Night, they may send books or word-based games home with the families.) In the 2016-17 school year, each school will hold two Family Learning Nights.
Shoreline Middle School held their Family Learning Night on October 8. Over 200 Shoreline students and parents came to the school to participate in science, technology, engineering, arts & mathematics (STEAM) activities. More than 20 hands-on stations were set up to highlight STEAM in action, including cup stacking challenges, paper airplane design and flight navigation, music making with harmonicas and water towers, and 3D printer demonstration and computer aided design (CAD) activities. The reviews from parents was enthusiastic:
“Tonight was awesome, better than any science fair I’ve been to. This is exactly the kind of activities our kids need to see,” reported one parent. Another parent shared that, “We need more events like this, especially with all the science and technology jobs in the future.”
The most exciting thing about these Family Learning Nights is that they bring students, parents, and teachers together in fun, interactive learning activities. We believe that these family nights offer our parents the opportunity to model their own joy of learning to their children. We look forward to sharing pictures and anecdotes from the elementary Family Learning Nights later in the school year.