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West Elementary hosts family night

By Staff
Kim West
West Elementary administrators have found a simple yet effective way to increase attendance at the school's parent-teacher nights held each semester.
Instead of hosting a traditional sit-down class meeting for only teachers and parents, the K-2 school started "PTO Family Night" programs as a way to attract family participation.
"We are doing this to try and get more families involved," said Ramona Robinson, principal at West Elementary. "This is the first year we have done (a music program) at the meeting, and we also have all-you-can-eat pizza from Five-Star Pizza as a fundraiser for the school, which really helps us out.
"I really like seeing all my parents relaxed as they're eating and mingling. And this is a good night because we don't have to talk about anything (negative) – nothing about attendance, grades or DIBELS."
The first grade meeting held Feb. 3 drew more than 100 parents and family members, who enjoyed a Valentine's Day-themed vocal performance directed by choral teacher Lauren Stroud. The students, who all wore Valentine-colored clothing, sang four songs and even performed the finale's chorus with sign language.
"There's nothing like singing children to know everything is right with the world," said Robinson after the performance concluded. "Mrs. Stroud has done a wonderful job with the students, and sometimes I catch myself going down to her room and listening to them sing during the day.
"They're even learning about half-notes and whole notes – it's unreal what these kids already know (about music)."
After the singing and dinner, families also had a chance to shop at the book sale in the school library. The school relies on proceeds from the book sale and PTO fundraisers to purchase expenses not covered by the annual budget.
"The PTO helps us afford the extra costs for the students," Robinson said. "It helps us purchase supplemental supplies for reading and math and also copy machines, computers, laptops, software and more books for the library."