#88 – Family Empowerment Events to Finish the Year Strong

Written by Jia Lin-Bothe, Director of Family Empowerment

Families picking up their “Passport to Success” at the Garinger’s Got It event as they begin the night.

Whether you know it through the allergies or the extra sunshine, spring is here. As the weather warms up and before the summer mugginess starts, Charlotte schools (and other organizations) tend to capitalize on this time of the year. Additionally, as we’re ending the school year, there tend to be more family engagement events: sports, spring festivals, science fairs, graduation ceremonies, etc. But how can we honor families’ time and have fewer events with more impact? 

We’ve been supporting a number of our partner schools with events related to family empowerment:

  • Carnival at the Creek: Sugar Creek Charter School brought back its annual Spring Carnival event. This event has been known to draw a big crowd and to include fun games for the whole family. Through data collected from our Family Empowerment Pre-Survey and additional insights from the Family Engagement and Empowerment Council, parents/caretakers, staff at Sugar Creek, and our team worked together to bring a resource fair. These efforts included:
    • A Uniform Exchange Station where families were able to exchange gently worn uniforms,
    • Having E2D present to distribute devices to families at a reduced cost since technology was one of the top areas of support requested by families, and
    • Connecting families with various Recreation Centers and wellness programs since physical health and wellness was another one of the top areas of support requested by families.

This event brought out 743 attendees. Some families may have initially been interested in the “carnival” aspect of the event, but all attendees got to connect with various community resources.

  • Garinger’s Got It: Garinger High School hosted an event focused on graduation requirements and end-of-year action items for students and families as they prepare for the next school year. We knew it was important to include physical wellness activities, financial education workshops, and career preparation workshops since these were top requests by families and students at the school. The event included a “Passport to Success” that featured a map of sessions for families and students to check off throughout the evening.
  • End-of-Year Success Bash: As the school year is wrapping up, it was top of mind for staff at Reid Park Academy to get information regarding EOGs and test preparation and connect families with various summer programs. In partnership with the school, our team supported with:
    • Ensuring that families felt invited to the event by making personal phone calls,
    • Securing community partners within the surrounding community and neighborhoods to ensure families get connected to resources, and
    • Putting together a Scavenger Hunt for families to complete and incentivizing them for their teamwork as a family.

Reid Park families learning information about end-of-year testing, strategies to support their students, and setting goals with their students.

By supporting the school with consistent efforts to promote and invite families to this event, it drew out 228 people.

  • Spring Fling: Bruns Avenue Elementary School was already planning a talent show, and we supported the school by combining efforts to provide families with information related to test preparation and community resources through “infomercials.”
  • Come See Your Star Shine: Movement School Eastland has been growing over the past few years and added their third grade this year. This means it is the school’s first year navigating the state-mandated EOGs. During this event, not only did families learn about various testing strategies and ways to support their students with the upcoming EOGs, but also coping strategies related to testing anxieties. Out of the 34 families who completed their Exit Tickets,
    • 97.06% of families agreed or strongly agreed that the event motivated them to be more involved in their child’s academic learning,
    • 88.24% of families agreed or strongly agreed that the event made them feel more confident doing academic activities at home that support their child’s learning, and
    • 85.29% of families agreed or strongly agreed that the event helped them better understand the grade-level academic expectations for their child.

What we’re learning:

  • Events can be fun and impactful.
  • We don’t need more events. We need to ensure that events are worthwhile for families.
  • Families show up to events with good intentions. Families may be scared and don’t know what’s going on. It is important to ensure that families feel invited and help schools build trust with families.
  • Families often come to schools and want to connect with teachers. It is also powerful for them to connect with other families to create a sense of belonging and community.

As we’re closing out this school year and gearing up for the next school year, we’re excited to continue our work in building family partnerships with schools, families, and the community. 

More to do, More to come.®

Action Item:

  • What is your school doing to foster strong family partnerships? Feel free to contact our team on how we could support you, your staff, students, and families!
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