On Thursday, October 16, the school held its first ever “Skills Night.” Put on by the interdisciplinary Skills and environmental science teams, the night was dedicated to a hosted dinner, information sessions on the classes available at the school and an AVID and college preparation presentation. The intent of the evening was to reach out to the families of students in their assisted classes in response to the limited attendance at Back to School Night due to work and family obligations. As the school looks to increase community involvement and close the achievement gap on campus, nights such as Skills Night must continue.
With over 100 people in attendance at this first event, it is evident that an interest exists to form connections between teachers and families. The night was set up to introduce parents to the clear expectations they have of their students. Between forming specific strategies to help students in and out of the classroom and overall strong support systems, it is events like this that unify the community on campus.
“We recognize that we are a team with our students’ families, and that together, we can help narrow the achievement gap and really support our students,” English and skills teacher Elizabeth Tompkins, a primary organizer of the event, said. “Our hope is that this event will inspire more frequent communication between parents and our team of teachers throughout the school year. It’s a powerful thing when parents and teachers come together to encourage and support the students.”
Not only can nights such as Skills Night assist parents in understanding the expectations their children face in their classes, but they allow for teachers to better understand their students’ backgrounds.
“It is always wonderful to see students and their families outside the classroom,” chemistry and environmental science teacher Trina Lee said. “It allows us to have a more accurate picture of who the students are, where they are coming from and how we can best support them.”
This connection allows for teachers to develop ideas that can be implemented in the classroom to motivate each student. As the school continues to look to push past the existing achievement gap, individual connections and goals are vital for success.
This one Skills Night alone brought together teachers from not only the Skills classes, but also environmental science classes, parents, administration and assisting students. With many of the most academically influential people in a student’s life gathering to understand one another, the gap can only continue to close.
Looking to the future, nights such as Skills Night are crucial for the continued progress of our community involvement and student achievement.