Local Parent-Involvement Programs Nominated For State Awards

Two local school events have been nominated for the Florida Parent Involvement Awards, recognized for their dedication to engaging parents. Both Seminole Ridge High School and Wellington Elementary School have a shot at being recognized for their work in a state publication.

The Florida Department of Education Parent Involvement Awards recognizes projects that successfully engage parents in meaningful, school-based programs.

A treasure hunt at the library was designed to have the students and parents of Wellington Elementary School become more familiar with the public library. “Arrgh: Hunting for Literacy Treasures at the Wellington Public Library” did just that, and also provided activities and strategies that parents could use at home. The school focuses on reading for 90 minutes a day. They then send home reading assignments for students to complete at home. Sometimes parents are unsure of how to assist their child. So, at “literacy night,” they provided parents with successful activities that are easy to do with their children in their home and with any story they choose. Teachers were on hand to explain the activities and answer parent questions.

There were age-appropriate “scavenger hunts” for students in the children’s section of the library. Some examples of treasures they sought were a fiction and non-fiction book, an encyclopedia, magazines, movies and more. They also learned to locate computers, checkout desks and the information center for when they return to the library with their families. The library worked with the school to make sure everyone had a library card. Teachers were dressed up as pirates and handed out their bounty — a goody bag of bookmarks, pencils, erasers and candy — to all participants when they finished the hunt. Approximately 335 students, parents and staff members attended.

The Hawk Family Fun Day at Seminole Ridge High School recently celebrated its ninth year. What started as a fundraiser for the band has transformed into one of the school’s most beloved and well-attended events. The event has many components. It includes a car show where all years, makes and models of cars — including four-wheel-drive trucks and swamp buggies — are welcome. Bragging rights and prizes are given. In addition, there are food trucks, a green market, vendors, children’s games and a silent auction. Clubs and other groups are offered the opportunity to set up a table to represent their organization.

This year, something special was added. In light of all the bullying and its related tragedies that are in the news each day, the school came up with the idea of hosting an Anti-Bullying Sidewalk Chalk Drawing Contest. The theme was “The End of Bullying Begins with You.” Participation was open to individuals or with a team (up to four students) in various age groups. Students remarked that this activity was one of their favorites, even competing with food, rides and more. The camaraderie, school spirit and lessons learned from working together made the school of 2,407 students not seem so vast and impersonal, but more of a tightly-knit family. It also increased parent involvement, created business partnerships and volunteers from the community.

The Parent Involvement Award is sponsored by the Florida PTA and supported through business partnerships. School-level parent involvement programs are evaluated on their impact on family involvement, ability to be replicated, relationship to the goals and objectives of the school and more.

Program winners will have their program outlined in Sparkplugs for Family Involvement and The Family Resource Directory. These are circulated throughout the state by volunteer coordinators, PTA leaders and others. The Commissioner of Education will recognize the parent representatives of these programs at the Florida PTA Leadership Conference in July.