June 4, 2021 --
How do we activate parents, residents, community members, agencies and local businesses to improve student outcomes? That is the question that Noble Elementary has been asking itself all year as it plans to become the district’s Community Learning Center pilot in the fall.
This past Friday night was one example of how; building teachers, local business owners, partners such as the Noble Library, and Family Engagement Specialist Lisa Hunt planned the Passport to Partnership event which was attended by over 60 families.
The evening event included informational tables set up by local organizations, opportunities to talk with teachers and learn about enrichment activities to do at home over the summer, coupons for food from the alumni-owned Goodfellas BBQ, a book giveaway from the Noble Library, and a toy giveaway organized by the PTA. The evening had a “heavy focus on academics in a fun way,” according to Ms. Hunt.
There was even a song and dance performance by the students enrolled in the 21st Century Grant-funded after school program, Noble STREAM.
Ms. Hunt created a passport for families to use as they traveled from activity to activity. Her “hope was to intentionally get parents to mix and talk to new people,” so the passport included a prompt to meet two new parents and trade contact information.
“It was so exciting to see parents actually doing that,” said Principal Patrick Carpenter, who thought the entire event was “a great way to showcase all the wonderful things happening at Noble.”
He commented on the countless parents who approached him to say how nice it was to attend something in-person that felt almost normal. Of course, the event was held outdoors and everyone was masked, but the interactions were genuine and there were even families of children who had remained fully remote the entire year. “It was great to see those kids meeting their teachers and classmates in person,” said Mr. Carpenter.
The Community Learning Center pilot has been in the works for more than a year, under the guidance of Ms. Hunt and Nancy Peppler, the district’s Supervisor of Community and School Partnerships, along with the National Network for Partnership Schools (whose work in the district was featured here
). Ms. Hunt says the next step is to develop a needs assessment to determine exactly what services will most benefit the school community.
Everyone involved believes that the partnerships between school and community will help to strengthen both. “We can build a greater sense of all being part of the Noble community. Your achievements are my achievements,” said Mr. Carpenter of the reciprocity between businesses, the school and organizations. “We want to help them flourish while they help us flourish.”
He believes that “Noble is the perfect community to pilot this – and the Passport to partnership was a perfect testament to that.”