#36 – A Weekend of Connections: Feast of Freedom in Charlotte, North Carolina

This blog post is a summary of a recent article highlighted on EdNC. To Learn more about this project, you can also view our feature on PBS Charlotte, WTVI.

The end of 2018 marks a time of deep appreciation from us to all of our partners, community supporters, and steadfast followers. We are humbled by the growing engagement from stakeholders in the education space within and beyond Charlotte. Our team also commits to consistent reflection on how best to serve our partners and amplify our impact within any particular project. In the midst of school breaks and final meetings, we are excited to share a recent event on the unique district-charter collaboration, focused on family empowerment, between Ashley Park and Movement School.

Feast of Freedom marked the first joint event between Ashley Park and Movement School. The two-day November event offered unique services to Charlotte’s westside families in preparation for the Thanksgiving holiday. The Harvest Center of Charlotte designated a range of community support services for each particular day.

On Friday, November 16th, westside families could access health and wellness screenings/consultations, as well as, engage in a night of communication connections. The “Day of Care Through Serving” on Saturday provided time for community and school families to receive academic resources, engage in a personalized shopping experience in the clothing drive and shoe tent, and receive Thanksgiving treats with a hot meal and a frozen turkey to prepare for Thanksgiving.

Over twenty-five community organizations coordinated together to support the Harvest Center’s annual Thanksgiving Feast of Freedom event. For the first time, Movement School housed the event to provide ample space for the many exciting initiatives over the two days. School leaders arrived to support their families and gain additional insight into the academic resources provided to help students in literacy and math.

Principals Loftus (Ashley Park) and Sumter (Movement) were interviewed on stage to share how the collaborative project has impacted their school communities. Each school leader expressed tremendous enthusiasm for the organic opportunity to learn best academic practices from teachers at each school. Each leader shared also how the greater emphasis on parental empowerment has engaged numerous families to meet with their scholar’s classroom teacher and volunteer within the school.

The continued investment from Wells Fargo signifies the tremendous promise and belief in how parental empowerment results in tangible academic gains for students and improves student behavior. In 2019, each school will host at least five additional family nights (20 total across both schools in the 2018-2019 school year) that build upon feedback from families on topics they would like addressed each month.

Each month, our team meets with the individual family empowerment committee members at each school to coordinate logistics and plan how to deliver specific academic components to families. Families provide feedback through Exit Tickets in which they specify what topics they would like addressed, offer suggestions for improvement, and enlist as a volunteer for future events. Family Empowerment Committee staff members reflect on the feedback provided and discuss what academic materials would best equip families to help their scholar at home.

Additional family volunteers and their willingness to host sessions relevant to other parents signify the growing family empowerment present in each school. Families have more frequent touch points with their scholar’s classroom teacher and interact with staff and school community members in an organic space.

Opportunities to engage meaningfully in the school community and receive tangible academic support systems results in concrete academic improvements for scholars and enriches the trust between the school and family. We cannot wait to build upon the successful momentum of 2018 and catapult into family empowerment for 2019.

Ana Cunningham
Director of Projects, SchermCo

To learn more about SchermCo or inquire about our services, please email Ana Cunningham, ana@scherm.co. Lastly, follow our journey and engage with us on our social media platforms: FB, IG, and Twitter.

SchermCo is a social-impact implementation firm that offers strategic advising, organizational development, and implementation services to schools and education-focused organizations. SchermCo reinvests 1% of their time/funds from each project back into the communities they serve.

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