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GODFREY - North Elementary School students and their parents were treated to a special show Thursday night from Mad Science as a part of the schools family engagement efforts.

“It’s important to keep the parents involved in their student's education,” Kim Lawrence, a member of the North Parent Teacher Group, said. “It’s crucial.”

Principal Heather Johnson said it’s a great opportunity for the teachers and staff to get to know the parents as well. Thursday’s family engagement night was an excellent chance for the parents, teachers and students to sit down together and learn in a fun environment.

“It’s very STEM related,” Johnson said. “We’re trying to get a high interest in STEM with both the male and female students. Girls aren’t always as interested in the STEM studies so it’s really nice to see mothers and daughters but also the whole family. It provides an opportunity for the whole family to get in there and learn together as well.”

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A family engagement night could be as simple as a family movie night. However, an evening where the families can learn together provides an opportunity to expand that learning outside of the classroom and into the homes with the entire family. There may be less of “what did you learn at school today?” from parents and more “look what we all just learned.”

“I think with our new learning standards, unfortunately, the parents might be becoming more intimated in how they can support their students,” Johnson said. “We know that our parents want to support them, so this opens it up and breaks down some of those barriers so that they feel like they can talk more and help their children in their studies because they’re provided with an opportunity to learn something together.”

The night of family learning was able to be done through a federal Title I grant for family engagement and there are already more events lined up.

In April North Elementary will be having a KISS Picnic where Kids Invite Someone Special to school for a lunch outside.

“That’s to build family connections again and to facilitate the love or reading,” Barb Erwin, with the North Parent Teacher Group said. “Each will get a free book while picnicking outside, and it doesn’t have to parent, just someone special. It’s just another opportunity for the families to meet the teachers.”

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