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Family Academy Supports Student Achievement

Nov. 7, 2022 - SSD’s FACE (Family and Community Engagement) hosted its first Family Academy at Northview SchoolFamily Academy Support Student Achievement on Nov. 5. There were nearly a dozen classes offered by SSD staff and vendors who participated to help families learn strategies to support their students and reinforce learning at home. 

“The idea behind Family Academy was to combine learning strategies and community resources for families, parents, and staff into one big event,” said Adrienne Eaglin, FACE administrator. “Parents and families were allowed to be the navigator of their own learning by attending classes that fit their needs. Families also need other families, so they were able to mingle between sessions and learn from each other.” 

Some of the presentation topics included guardianship, wellness, and social emotional behavior. Dr. Mollie Bolton, executive director of teaching, learning, and accountability, taught three classes on early, elementary, and middle school literacy. She highlighted how students can progress in reading comprehension, vocabulary, and fluency. 

“I think families often want to help their kids with reading skills, but they just don’t know how,” said Bolton. “We gave families free books. As I’m teaching the skills they can follow along in the book, apply it, and use the same book at home with their kids. It’s about not making it overwhelming, but something they can do with their child for a few minutes each day.”

Michkeal Cross, paraprofessional at Hazelwood East High School, attended the social emotional behavior class. 

“It has been a good experience, especially because I work for SSD,” said Cross. “In the class, I learned how to use different tactics to deescalate children’s anxiety inside and outside the classroom. I can take the information and use it with my students.”

Several years in the making, Michelle Franklin, family & community outreach support, considers the event a success. Families value partnerships that allow them to support student achievement and Family Academy  was one of the best ways to accomplish that goal. 

“We support families by offering opportunities for them to share their knowledge, build their confidence, and learn about resources they can use in their homes to impact student outcomes,” said Franklin. “With the vision of teachers before me and the FACE team, we were able to bring our District leaders and teachers together to provide academic resources and the educational standpoints for parents and families.”

Post event survey results will determine how often the event is held each year. In the meantime, Franklin encourages families to attend Family Cafe.  This event provides parents and caregivers with a safe and welcoming space to connect and learn from each other. The next session takes place Nov. 17.