A Huge THANK YOU to our Roadmap Conference Participants and CONGRATULATIONS to the Family Engagement Award Winners!

The FACE Office would like to extend a huge THANK YOU to all those family members, students, and community members who joined us for the 2nd Annual Roadmap to Navigating the School District of Philadelphia Family Engagement Conference! The Conference welcomed over 700 people, provided over a dozen workshops presented by District offices, and hosted nearly 30 businesses and organizations in the Family Resource Fair. The day also included raffles, lunch, giveaways, and fun and interactive childcare for younger children.

We were so glad to hear that so many families gained valuable tools, information, and resources; the FACE Office is always available to families and community members for assistance in navigating the School District of Philadelphia.

The Family Engagement Awards were also held right before the Conference, which included speakers Robert F. Smith of Comcast and Superintendent Dr. William Hite speaking about the importance of family engagement and congratulating the award winners (as well as snapping selfies with them!)

Check out the winners of the Family Engagement Awards below!

Family Leadership Award Winners

Glenda White, James J. Sullivan Elementary School

“Only positive accolades can be bestowed upon Mrs. Glenda White. This parent has had 4 children matriculate through the James J. Sullivan Family, 3 biological and 1 foster child…Glenda’s hard work, tenacity, volunteerism, open communication and can-do-it attitude afforded [her son] Dante the opportunity to make great strides both academically and behaviorally.  The road was rough with Dante. Yet, Glenda was determined to ensure that he would not be a statistic and that through the development of strong home and school ties, he would rise, and that he did. Last year, he daughter Arianna graduated from Sullivan. Glenda would volunteer 5 days a week and serve in a Climate Support role not only only in her daughter’s classroom…she became a fixture in the building on which all staff and students could depend. Glenda hosted lunch bunches with learners and served as a mentor and school mom. Her foster daughter was also a student with an IEP who was situated in a Life Skills Classroom. Glenda ensured that she was given the utmost care and concern and that she was not impeded by her disability, but that she embraced said disability and moved through tiers that many thought impossible…

Glenda is bilingual and she has encouraged 3 other Spanish speaking parents to volunteer in our building. She is a leader in her circle and very well respected in the Wissonoming community…She is truly an asset to our school community and I am honored to recommend her.” — Tracey Mitchell-Lawrence, Assistant Principal

Luz Pratts, Potter-Thomas School

“Ms. Luz Pratts is a valuable asset to the Potter-Thomas Promise Academy community.  She is a parent leader, who volunteers daily, is a member of the School Advisory Council, is an excellent parent of her own children as well as adopted children and is a part of our leadership team

Ms. Luz Pratts, affectionately called, “Ms. Luz,” works diligently to support the mission and vision of the Potter-Thomas Promise Academy.  She provides support in the Main Office by supporting with attendance reconciliation, meeting with parents to support the development of Attendance Elimination Plans…

As the result of building positive relationships with the students of Potter-Thomas Promise Academy, Ms. Luz facilitates conflict resolution with students demonstrating how to operate as a positive community of learners.

Ms. Luz serves as the guardian of her grandson, who is now a 10th grader at a special admission school in the School District of Philadelphia and a graduate of Potter-Thomas Promise Academy. She seeks help with homework, seeks tutoring support and attends all parent/teacher conferences. Ms. Luz’ dedication to his academic success has positioned him in the proper place to succeed academically, socially and emotionally…

…Ms. Luz continues to make a huge impact in the school community of Potter-Thomas Promise Academy.” — Dywonne Davis-Harris, Principal

Haviva Goldman, Jenks Academy of Arts and Sciences

“Haviva Goldman has been a volunteer at Jenks Academy since 2009.  Haviva is a quiet, humble leader with mad organizational skills, a true commitment to the children of Jenks and a public schools advocate. During her son Denis’s first week of Kindergarten, Haviva was already working on a grant to bring “Bone Day” to our youngest budding scientists.  She immediately became involved with our Home and School Association and soon after founded the Friends of J.S. Jenks to further support community involvement and broaden the involvement base to include businesses, civic organizations, and interested neighbors…

…Her leadership has facilitated the implementation of our Redesign initiatives including the furnishing of Shared Classrooms, STEM Week assemblies, and raising funds to financially support after-school activities such as: our school musicals, Space camp and Equine camp.

Not only does Haviva strengthen and build our school community, she touches families on a personal level. When one of our parents was taken to the hospital, the Goldman Family welcomed her children into their home until the parent was released from the hospital. She has hosted Parent Teas in her home to introduce prospective families to our programs and organized Playground Play dates so that new families can meet our attending families.

She has created this legacy while being a wife, mother of two and maintaining a full time job as a professor at Drexel University. It is our great honor and privilege to support Ms. Goldman’s nomination for the Family Leadership Award.” — Mary Lynskey, Principal

Family-School Partnership Award Winners

A.S. Jenks School

“A.S. Jenks Elementary School educates students from various backgrounds and our principal, Mrs. Douglas, works closely with families to include lessons and celebrations of every culture.  With the help of parents and students, cultures are able to be celebrated accurately and authentically. Some examples of our celebrations include parents donating items and give of their time to teach students to make couscous during our Algerian Celebration Day, parents putting together beautiful trays of Algerian pastries for everyone to sample, students and parents learning to Salsa dance during our Hispanic Heritage Celebration, parents donating ingredients for students to make homemade salsa, students eating Chinese food prepared by our parents and watching a dragon dance performance for our Chinese New Year celebration. Parents have even led assembly programs for our students where they taught the school community about their culture, country, language, clothing, traditions, holidays, songs, etc. Parents are welcomed and encouraged to be a part of their child’s school experience at Jenks…

If our school is awarded the $1,000, we would put this to good use by purchasing curriculum and materials to offer ongoing conversational English speaking classes to our parents whose first language is not English.  We’ve had lots of requests and interest from our parents for this sort of program and we think it would be very successful…”

Overbrook Educational Center

“…As a school, we encourage families to be active in their child’s education and offer them frequent opportunities to be involved. Our Parent Breakfast and Walkthroughs are a perfect example of this. At Parent Breakfasts, we begin by offering food for families and celebrating student achievements. We discuss academic goals and objectives that parents can look for in the classroom. Then families head to their child’s classroom to observe. Not only are teachers at OEC accustomed to this sort of transparency, they welcome it. We embrace feedback from all perspectives because we know everyone’s voice is valuable and essential to making OEC the best school it can be. While observing, parents look out for activities and instruction that clearly align with the academic goals discussed. We ask that families record what they notice and share strengths as well as the areas they feel can be improved upon. This feedback is shared with the teachers who use it strategically to ensure their classroom is the most effective and successful learning environment possible…

…If awarded, the funding would be used to host Parent Breakfast/Walkthroughs more frequently and provide more in-depth training for parents on specific types of instruction they should be observing in our classrooms…Our goal in providing better training for families is to make them more knowledgeable participants, which will allow them to provide more constructive feedback and identify ways in which they might be able to contribute to the learning community. With this funding, we would be able to supply our parents with instructional materials that would familiarize families with what students are learning in the classroom and ways to supplement that learning at home.”

Julia R. Masterman Laboratory and Demonstration School

“Masterman thrives on community. We are proud to have both an active and engaged SAC and HSA. Our HSA strives to supplement our school through programming and fundraising events that build community and instill pride. Our SAC gives hours of attentive service to help school leadership achieve Masterman’s goals. SAC meetings are attended by administration, teachers, elected parent representatives, student representatives, and other members of the Masterman community interested in sharing their voice. HSA, SAC, and administration actively communicate updates and concerns. We continually strive to bring greater unity to our diverse community and find more ways to engage all families…

…If awarded this grant, we will host a welcome dinner for new families. Funds would go toward food, paper goods, handouts, etc., ensuring the dinner be cost free for attendees. It would be a moment where all could come together and connect with their new community as well as learn the many different ways to become engaged at Masterman. Because we are sure that first impressions do count, we think that this would be a wonderful way to showcase not just SAC but also the many other programs and activities within the school. This includes our HSA, administration, club leaders, and student support systems, such as counselors, each of whom can connect with families at the dinner’s opening meet and greet. A question and answer session during the dinner will share school transition strategies with families, and a small group break out will allow families to offer ideas and feedback. The dinner will provide a relaxed environment for people to share and get to know each other. To ensure inclusivity, we would have multilingual individuals who could help anyone whose first language is not English.

We believe that hosting a new families dinner would be a tremendous benefit in the short and long term. Personal contacts with teachers and staff outside of class time is critical to student learning and overall success. Further, such a program plants engagement seeds for families and students alike which is one of the major missions of both SAC and FACE. We need everyone to feel welcome at our school and want every family to feel that their contribution, large or small to our community, is vital and necessary, because it is.”

Check out more photos from the Roadmap Family Engagement Conference over on our Facebook page!