On January 30, Ralya and Wilkshire Early Childhood Center (WECC) hosted a Community Connection event at Blondie’s Barn and invited 120 families from each school. The event was made possible by a generous $2,500 grant from the Foundation for Haslett Schools.
This gathering was not just a meal and a casual get-together; it was a purposeful initiative to strengthen the ties between the school and families in a non-threatening, inclusive setting.
Building Relationships and Trust:
The heart of the event lay in its commitment to building relationships and trust between the school and families. Staff members engaged in meaningful conversations with parents, gaining valuable insights into the needs and aspirations of families. The collaborative spirit was evident, emphasizing that school and home are working together as a united team to ensure the success of every student.
Stephanie Horwath, a Principal of Wilkshire Early Childhood Center, was excited to share her experience from the event, saying:
"It is so fun to see the students in a different environment other than the school - sometimes kids are shocked to see that teachers actually get to leave school! It gives everyone a chance to have conversations, make connections and build relationships. We are grateful to the Foundation for the grant to purchase materials and provide dinner to all our families."
Empowering Families with Resources:
The event was not just about eating breakfast for dinner together; it was a platform to equip parents with resources, education, and training to support their children at home. Individualized folders containing free resources like new books, flashcards, Six-Minute Solution materials, math games, and manipulatives were distributed. Teachers personalized each student's folder, providing activities and materials tailored to serve as interventions or extensions of the learning taking place at school.
Teachers from each grade level, along with MTSS staff, were present to demonstrate strategies used at school that could seamlessly be integrated into the home environment. This holistic approach aimed to bridge the gap between school and home, ensuring a continuity of support for each student.
The Community Connection event exemplified a commitment to equitable outreach. All resources were made available free of charge and brought directly to the neighborhood, eliminating barriers to access. Dinner, served by dedicated Ralya and WECC staff, further emphasized the inclusivity of the event, fostering a sense of community and shared purpose.
Ralya Loves Local, Supports Local:
The event was not only about strengthening school-family bonds but also about supporting the local community. Held at a local favorite Blondie's Barn, this initiative was part of Ralya's commitment to "Ralya Loves Local, Supports Local." In addition to the educational resources, the event featured giveaways promoting local businesses and programs, further enriching the ties between the school and the broader community.
Erin North, a Principal at Ralya Elementary, has made it her school’s goal to build relationships between her staff, families, and local businesses.
“We are so grateful to be a part of this supportive community, partnering with the Haslett Foundation and community businesses like Blondie's to provide opportunities for our students and families to come together. For the students and families to have the teachers serve them their breakfast for dinner is a fun experience for everyone.”
Ralya and WECC Community Connection event, made possible by the Foundation for Haslett Schools grant, was a resounding success in fostering relationships, empowering families, and supporting academic success. By embracing a holistic approach, Ralya and WECC demonstrated its dedication to building a strong, collaborative community that values education, unity, and local support. The event served as a testament to the power of community connections in creating a positive and enriching educational environment for all.
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