Davis Magnet students celebrating a successful Take Your Family to School Week
Take Your Family to School Week 2014: Paving the Way to Student Success
Like most magnet schools across the nation, our school, Davis Magnet, doesn’t have the luxury of all of its families living within walking distance of the school. The defining of the “school community” is literally the families who take the leap to enroll their child in this magnificent school located in the heart of downtown Jackson in one of the oldest school buildings in the city. The student enrollment is 285 with approximately 250 families. As plans and decisions are made by the PTA board, the underlining goal is simply to make everyone feel that this is our PTA, not the PTA.
A great boost in making progress towards this goal has been our PTA’s participation in Take Your Family to School Week (TYFTSW). Three years ago, our unit ventured out to participate in this national initiative and offer ways each day during this week to bring our families to our school. Incorporating both social and enriching events that celebrate the theme of the week, our first year focused on Storytelling – a Family Tradition (emphasizing reading), the second year embraced the national theme of Safety at Home and Play, and this year’s theme was Supporting Student Success. By our second year, we also ventured out to apply for the National PTA’s TYFTSW and grant.
Students and families crowd around for story time.
Each year, our participation has increased. Even during the planning stages, over ten parents served on the TYFTSW planning committee. The week’s events began on the evening of Monday, February 17, with families bringing blankets and everyone talking part in the family tradition of storytelling. Families took part, as storyteller Doris Jones engulfed the audience in the plots, sounds, and emotions through her gift of storytelling. Students and parents also got their hands dirty working together to create mosaic design on pavers for the school’s teaching garden; thus reinforcing the paving the way to student success theme. Each classroom then assumed the completion of each paver.
Two Davis Magnet students work together to create a mosaic paver for the school’s teaching garden.
Tuesday was all about talent and showcasing that “Davis Has Talent.” Grandparents, parents, aunts and uncles crowded the auditorium as students, from grades kindergarten to fifth, shared their talents of singing, dancing, and acting. This reinforced that encouragement is an important element to a student’s success.
Wednesday’s sunrise was met with parents enjoying a hot breakfast served with an interactive conversation with the principal about Common Core and the how parents can assist in ensuring the students’ success in the classroom. For lunch, the Watch D.O.G.S. (Dads Of Great Students) provided teachers with a special treat – a duty-free lunch. Dads and grandfathers provided assistance and management in the cafeteria. There was a sea of blue, as dads donned blue aprons, assisted in the serving line, wiped cafeteria tables, and conversed with students.
WATCH D.O.G.S. Wednesday
Thursday’s event highlighted students as they recognized the rich culture and contributions of African Americans in the annual Black History Music Program during the February PTA meeting. On Friday, parents were welcomed during the school day as part of the Friday Family Film Festival.
The week of family engagement culminated on Sunday, as more than one hundred Davis Magnet community members (students, teachers, parents, siblings, and administrators) celebrated the successful week of family fun at a locally owned ice cream parlor, enjoying ice cream and fellowshipping with the families of our Davis community.
Vera McFarlin Johnson is the PTA president for Davis Magnet IB Elementary PTA. She and her husband have one elementary and one middle school student. She has served in various positions on the PTA board for the past five years.