Family Fun Friday at Sierra View
Family Fun Friday is a big deal at Sierra View Elementary, especially for Margo Taylor and her 8-year-old grandson Carlos.
"I care about my grandson's education," says Taylor. "I want him to be able to make good choices, so I'm here on Family Fun Friday to support him and teach him the importance of education so he can be college and career ready."
Family Fun Friday began last December as a way to help increase parent involvement. With 400 students, parent involvement isn't close to where Principal Stephanie Tarrell would like it to be. Tarrell would like to see more parents of her fourth, fifth and sixth graders.
"If we can get parents active and involved with our young kids, hopefully we can keep them engaged throughout their student's career at Sierra View," explains Tarrell. "The staff was on board to give it a go and see what the response would be. Feedback from staff has been positive and our Family Outreach Committee meets monthly to discuss building on what we have started. The committee keeps the momentum going."
On Family Fun Friday, the day begins early, around 7:30 for parents who show up to walk laps with their students after breakfast. Then at 7:45 a.m., parents are either reading to a classroom of young learners, or paired one-on-one for reading activities with their student. At 8:10 it's off to the cafeteria to meet with the principal for coffee, socialization with other families, and a drawing to win family prizes.
On this particular Friday, Taylor, a Franchise Tax Board retiree, is reading with her grandson. Carlos is a little shy, but says he likes having his grandmother visit his third grade classroom for a reading activity.
Teacher Gail Cunha likes the presence of parents, too. At one time she had as many as 11 parents show up to read with their children.
"It's important parents know more about what their children are learning in school," says Cunha, a teacher for 37 years now. "Parents see the welcoming environment we have and it makes them more comfortable."
Parent Viri Benitez agrees.
"It's important, that's why I try to come, and my daughter is fairly new to the school," says Benitez. "I want to be part of her learning experience here. So I come, have breakfast, and read to her class."