McDougle Elementary Hosts Student Support Night
McDougle Elementary School (MES) chose the school-wide theme “ME4: Equity and Excellence for Every Student, Every Day” in order to more clearly inform and remind its community of a primary goal. As part of that ME4 goal, a Student Support Night was held on the evening of October 24 for parents to learn strategies to help all children succeed in school, academically and socially.
The vision became a reality through the work of the Exceptional Children (EC) staff at MES, in collaboration with the PTA. EC Resource Teacher, Caitlin de la Paz, led the planning, but the event was very much a team effort. “We had talked about wanting to reach every parent, and how sometimes we felt like parents didn't have adequate information about available supports at the school level. We held a School Support Night last spring and it wasn't well attended. So this year we really wanted to partner with our PTA to have activities for the kids.”
As the parents chose from among seven sessions to attend, many of their children were in full Halloween costumes in the cafeteria, enjoying a variety of activities designed and overseen by the MES PTA.
Parent Mirty Soto Rosario said, “I attended the McDougle Support Night and thought the event was well organized and provided great information. The “Growth Mindset and Math” breakout session provided useful strategies to support our kindergarten and third grade children, while also helping us reinforce the concept that math can be fun! Our children really enjoyed the Halloween event, and pairing this activity with the Support Night was an excellent idea.”
The slate of sessions included “Bullying 101,” “A Brief Overview of Restorative Practices,” “Supporting Students with Executive Function Skills,” and “Critical Conversations on Race and Equity.”
De La Paz said, “When we were deciding on sessions, we brainstormed things that parents had brought up in our meetings, for example Bullying, asking what Restorative Practices were, MTSS/504/IEPs, etc. We knew we wanted to have school involvement, so we asked specialists at our school to present, as well as District staff.”
MES School Counselor, Aveni Patel-Ghosh spoke to parents about bullying. “The session was received very well by the parents who attended, as the focus of the session was to explicitly define the term bullying, and to emphasize that not everything is bullying. Our school team felt that the session was necessary in helping parents navigate the different sorts of untoward behaviors their elementary aged students may experience in the school setting, and helping their students understand that not all of these behaviors are bullying. My main goal was to help parents in empowering their students to identify the differences between rude, mean, and bullying behaviors, and helping their students understand that they always have a voice in any of those situations. During the session, I also spent time explaining the district bullying report protocol because I wanted all parents to understand that bullying is taken very seriously in CHCCS.”
Assistant Principal Tiffany Newsome, said, “This was our second year hosting the Student Support Night, and we were happy to engage our McDougle community with a wealth of information and have fun all at the same time! It gives me great joy to see our staff and families come together. I am so proud of our staff for pulling this off with such excellence. This is what community is all about! A special thanks to Ms. de la Paz and her team for organizing the event."
Principal Aisha Howard agreed that the event was a resounding success. “The sessions were amazing and so engaging. Parents were very complimentary of the event. We are excited about even greater parent turnout and community building next time.”