This post is long overdue. I’ve been meaning to write about how wonderful Chatterbox’s school is since she began in September of last year for 1st grade. Her Kindergarten year was a disaster (for me, not her – she was fine) at another school that was disorganized, unsafe (they lost her for an entire hour outside – I can’t even talk about it), and the staff was awful. Glad that chapter is over. Anyway, we switched her from a school outside of our zone, where she was in an immersion program, to our home school, which I love.
It’s a Title 1 school. It took me some time to figure out exactly what that meant, and I’ll admit – in the beginning I had some pre-conceived notions about it. For the legally inclined, “Title 1″ means Title 1 of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 and it’s purpose is “Improving the Academic Achievement of the Disadvantaged.” In a nutshell:
Title 1 funds aim to bridge the gap between low-income students and other students. The U.S. Department of Education provides supplemental funding to local school districts to meet the needs of at-risk and low income students.
Courtesy of BrightHub.com
What that translates to in practice is an abundance of perks and activities that benefit the entire school community. I’ve been consistently amazed at the programs that the school has been able to offer:
Math Party Night. The school provided party favors, hats, pizza and snacks during an evening pep rally focused on math and then we broke up into small groups and rotated through classrooms where the students played math games. Everyone (including Giggles who doesn’t even attend the school) went home with a set of math games to be played at home.
Books & Breakfast. On a Saturday morning, parents and students gathered for a breakfast of waffles, toppings, fruit and juices. While the kids went off to do supervised activities, the parents were addressed by a presenter aimed at teaching parenting skills to parents of school-aged children. Each kid went home with a brand new book. There’s another Books & Breakfast event this Saturday with a scheduled appearance by The Cat In the Hat…
And then there’s the PTA. What a stark contrast from last year’s bunch. Our current PTA hosts great events that encourage the parents to come out. A huge draw is that they provide childcare at every single meeting. It makes it hard to come up with an excuse not to go! And they often combine the PTA meetings with a fun family activity. For example:
Turkey Bingo Night. This event drew a full house! I mean the entire all-purpose room was packed. We played bingo all night and there were tons of prizes (donated by families) from Washington Mystics tickets to arts & crafts materials. I think we played bingo for 2 straight hours. They had pizza and assorted snacks for sale. It was a great time.
Pajama Reading Night. This was last night’s event. Everyone (parents included!) came dressed in PJs and enjoyed hot chocolate and snacks. In various nooks around the school, teachers, parents and the principal read books to small groups of students. Every 15 minutes, the groups would rotate to the next reading station. At the end of the evening, everyone got to choose books to take home as part of a Book Swap (these were donated by the school families).
These are just a few examples of the activities that her school hosts. There are carnivals, daily free breakfast for all, Heritage celebrations with tons of parent-provided food, and more. Our county is known for its solid school system, but of course each and every school is different. We are very pleased with where Chatterbox is now (and where Giggles will go next year). The only con? The school ends at 3rd grade, at which time the students move up to the main elementary school in our neighborhood. I can only hope it’s as engaging.
What really impresses me is how involved the parents are. Each event is well-attended and supported. We’re soaking it in while it lasts!
Tags: Title 1 School