The Community Campus Connections group, representing Verda Dierzen Early Learning Center, Mary Endres Elementary School, and Northwood Middle School, held a summer gathering outside the Maple Tree Apartments on Monday, June 17. The group was formed as part of a collaborative effort between the schools’ principals, who banded together to find ways to reach out to, and connect with, the many families who live in the apartment complexes located near the three-school campus.
The group held a fall event during which families gathered for a meal, chatted with teachers and principals, and received cold-weather clothing items. In the spring, a “Roll & Read” event at Northwood Middle School included read-aloud story time, and walking together on the school track.
The summer event “Breakfast & Books” was held under a large tent on the Maple Tree lawn. Families were invited to come and enjoy breakfast, games, activities and books. Staff from all three schools welcomed around 50 people who shared breakfast sandwiches, yogurt, fruit, and juice while listening to music, and visiting with teachers, administrators and other families. Verda Dierzen Parent Educator Cristina Mazzanti greeted families, and received hugs from students who were happy to see a familiar face. Mazzanti summed up the event saying, “It was wonderful to see all the families come together for breakfast and participate in the activities. Even though the schools are closed for the summer, our hearts are always open to the families.”
Books were made available for families to take, and several activity tables were set up for students to explore, learn, and play. In addition, a staff member with a computer was available to help register any children who had not yet been registered for the 2019-20 school year.
Mary Endres Elementary Principal Keri Pala watched as students perused the book selections, saying, “What a great way to combine community and literacy.” Northwood Middle School Principal Bethany Hall was happy to see that the event drew middle schoolers as well as young children, and remarked that the book selections for older students and adults helped make it truly an event for the entire family.
Verda Dierzen Principal Tricia Bogott was very pleased with the turnout, saying, “It’s great to see our families during the summer and to have an opportunity to continue to stress the importance of reading together. We’re happy that our families feel welcome at these events, and we love the feeling of belonging that is fostered by gathering as a community. We look forward to building relationships that will last, and that will benefit students and families for many years to come.”