By Megann Horstead | For The Sentinel
While many returned to school two months ago, children need support throughout the academic year to ensure success.
Enter Shorewood Elementary School, which helped parents and students by inviting them to take part in its Shorewood Education Night Oct. 3.
The event was meant to help support student learning inside and outside the classroom.
“It’s a new format for us,” said Colleen Connolly, principal of Shorewood Elementary School. “We want parents to be engaged with our curriculum. The students, they will be showing them the building.”
In years past, Shorewood Education Night featured different presentations by staff members over multiple nights to help inform parents of what to expect during the academic year. It was designed this time around to serve as an open house, in which attendees can pick and choose the classrooms they wish to visit.
During the event, the school’s instructional technology coach opened up the I-Lab for parents and children to drop in.
“Our instructional technology coach will showcase the Osmos and Ipads we have for the students,” Connolly said. “They can share with their parents what they do with them.”
Attendees were encouraged to complete a scavenger hunt, which provided children and their parents with a new way to explore the building.
Kindergarten teacher Donna Marquez greeted parents and their children as they dropped in to meet her and explore the classroom.
“[Students are] very excited to come to school anytime, whether it’s tonight or another night,” she said. “They’re definitely excited to bring their parents in and to explore our classroom and our school.”
Like many teachers at Shorewood Elementary School, Marquez typically sends a monthly newsletter to her student’s parents to keep them informed on how the year is progressing.
Shorewood Education Night creates yet another opportunity for staff members to engage parents.
“I just think it’s a very friendly environment for the parents to come in, and I think it’s just a nice night that they get to spend with their kids, and they get to see what is happening in the school,” Marquez said.
Shorewood Education Night typically brings in more than 200 families each year. The building houses 459 students, to date.
Connolly said changing the format of Shorewood Education Night was important to the school and its effort to engage families.
“Our community is strong, and they come out for many events,” she said. “Through our Parent Advisory Committee, parents are always wanting to get involved.”
Aimee Merritt, of Shorewood, said she is glad she decided to drop in to meet her children’s teachers and explore the school they attend.
“I like to learn about what my kids are doing in school, and I like to show my face, and just to be involved in what they’re doing,” Aimee said.
Aimee’s daughters are first- and fourth-grade students at Shorewood Elementary School.
“It’s very important to be an active parent in the school system,” Aimee said. “It encourages [my children] to show me what they’re doing, so I know that they know that I know what’s going on.”
Aimee said the event’s new format provided a nice change.
“I like it because I don’t feel like I’m stuck picking which kid I should help and not help,” she said. “In years past, I had to have my husband go with one, and I’ll miss out on what they’re doing and vice versa. So, with this open format, I can kind of take a little bit of time for each kid. It’s been helpful.”