FCPS Schools Honored with 2018 Virginia PTA Family Engagement Awards
Three Fairfax County public schools were recognized for their efforts to involve parents and their school communities in school programs and activities by the Virginia PTA. Winners of 2018 Virginia PTA Family Engagement Awards include:
- The Laurel Ridge Elementary School PTA, winner of the Family Engagement PTA Award for its efforts to build parent and family engagement in the school and surrounding community. To serve the diverse school community that represents 34 different home countries, the Laurel Ridge PTA reaches out to new families by hosting a Welcome New Lions event in August for parents and students to meet the principal and be introduced to the school. They are also provided with Laurel Ridge A to Z, which outlines everything a parent would want to know about how the school operates and what certain phrases and traditions mean. At Back to School Night, the PTA hosts a welcome table, answering questions, providing information, and recruiting members and volunteers. Through numerous free Family Nights, parents and students connect to each other and build community. PTA Meetings are held in the evenings and feature a presentation or speaker to help parents support their child’s health and education. A closed PTA Facebook page is available to share information and offer Facebook Live broadcasts of PTA meetings and events.
- Hollin Meadows Elementary School PTA, winner of the inaugural Male Engagement PTA Award for building the vitality of its PTA by encouraging increased involvement by male members of the group. To ensure that all members of the school family feel involved, valued, and invested in student success, the PTA implemented the National Watch D.O.G.S. program to increase involvement of fathers and father figures. Activities included a pancake breakfast, a chili cook-off, and volunteer opportunities for dads and father figures, both during the school day and after school.
- Whitman Middle School PTSA was named winner of the inaugural Diversity and Inclusion PTA Award for cultivating a diverse culture within its membership and engaging students and families by offering community engagement programs. Supporting multiculturalism was a main goal of the school’s Parent Teacher Student Association (PTSA), which included using the Spanish parent liaison and translators, creating multilingual flyers and announcements, using English for speakers of other languages (ESOL) staff members to promote communication to underrepresented students, and developing personal relationships with students and families. PTSA-sponsored events included the STEM + Families Microsoft Technology Event, a community tea, a community presentation on talking with teens (with translators), a Fall Festival, and a PTSA web site and Facebook page. The PTSA works with the National Capital Area Food Bank on a monthly basis to provide nutritious food to families and the community, which serves as a hunger safety net for families in need.
Earlier this summer, Olde Creek Elementary School principal Dustin Wright was recognized as the Virginia PTA Power Partner Principal of the Year, and Aldrin Elementary School volunteer Kate Brown was named the Virginia PTA Elementary Volunteer of the Year.
For more information, contact the Fairfax County Public Schools Office of Communication and Community Relations at 571-423-1200.