ROCKLAND — Family night events at Jefferson Elementary frequently attract parents, guardians, caretakers and siblings to the school to learn about their student’s studies, but it wasn’t always that way.
In fact, it wasn’t until recently that these events began attracting more than 100 families.
Since Principal Michelle Scheufele took on her role four years ago, she has worked in conjunction with school staff and the Parent Advisory Council to expand family engagement at after school events and has developed a series of annual gatherings that closely tether families to their student’s academic lives.
“Our focus has changed from simply providing information to parents, to offering interactive, engaging activities that incorporate learning and showcase student work,” Principal Scheufele said. “Our families come out to support their students in increasing numbers each year. Jefferson has become more of a community, with families partnering with our educators on a number of initiatives.”
The school held its first Literacy Night in May 2015 when Principal Scheufele was an intern principal, and the event only attracted approximately 30 families. Since then, Principal Scheufele has worked to incorporate interactive, exciting activities leading up to and during events to encourage attendance, sometimes including school day visits from authors and raffles featuring signed books. Approximately 120 families visited last year’s Literacy Event.
The school has also started to hold more events in recent years, including the annual Family Math Night in November and Family Science Night in February. Each event features fun activities including book fairs and raffles.
To attract more families to these events, the school also puts student work and projects on display, and features educational games students have learned in class that parents can practice at home to support their child’s math, science and reading skills.
The school’s annual open house has been changed in recent years into an interactive event as well. At the annual open house, parents visit their student’s classrooms and meet staff members, instead of listening to a speech from the principal as was customary in prior years.
“I’d like to thank our teachers and staff at Jefferson Elementary, as well as the Parent Advisory Council for providing so much support for these events as we continue to encourage families to attend, have fun, and support student learning after school,” Principal Scheufele said.
Upcoming events at the Jefferson Elementary School include:
- ALICE Parent Night: March 25, 6-7 p.m., parents are invited to attend an informational event about the ALICE school safety program.
- MCAS Parent Information Night: April 3, 6-7 p.m.
- Jefferson Ice Cream Truck and Raffle: April 26, 6:30-8 p.m.
- Book Fair and Family Literacy Night: May 8, 6-7 p.m.
- Throughout March, Jefferson staff are reading to students on the “Jefferson Elementary School Reads” Facebook Page through Facebook live on Monday through Thursday nights at 7:30 p.m. Principal Scheufele will continue to read on Facebook Life every Wednesday night at 7:30 p.m. for the remainder of the school year.