Mount Airy City Schools’ first community night was well received with participants almost filling the Mount Airy High School Commons area Thursday night.
“I want to give a shout out to our Parent Teacher Organizations,” said Superintendent Dr. Gregory Little. “This is a parent-driven event and the participation tonight is so important to showcase our district. It is so gratifying to see this much interest in education. The impetus for this came from our steering committee which set a clear vision of the future. This is one way to showcase how far we’ve come towards making that a reality.”
The evening program opened with the Jones Intermediate “Bears Have Talent” group and the Mount Airy High School Chorus performing. Following Little’s welcome to participants, Mount Airy Mayor Deborah Cochran and Mayor Pro Tem Steve Yokeley spoke to the crowd and Cochran read a proclamation by the city commissioners.
The proclamation encouraged citizens to recognize the successes and dedication of students as well as praising the hard work of students and staff.
Students Steven Johnson and Hagen Wilson were making rubber band rings in their school’s colors. This was one activity in one of the three booths set up at the gathering, telling participants about the school. Jones PTO Vice President Dianne Johnson explained the second booth featured student produced videos explaining mathematics concepts as part of the “flipping the classroom” approach to teaching.
“You never know with the first time for something like this. We were hoping for a good turnout and it’s been wonderful. We’ve been so pleased and it feels good to get information to parents,” said Johnson.
Jones Intermediate math teacher Erette Bobbitt talked with parents about how students have more time in the classroom by using the Internet to connect with classmates as they work on projects or use instructional videos similar to those on the laptop computers for homework.
Bobbitt said completing work this way allows students to come to the classroom the next day and get more out of instructional time because they do not have to go over what was covered the day before.
“Everything here on display tonight is student- created instructional videos,” said Bobbitt. “Students and parents can go online and help their children at home. It’s good for students to get to hear other voices this way and they did a great job putting these together. They can learn a concept and we have time the next day for even more project based learning.”
Elsewhere, Jones students Nazadia, Nazonika and Nazrel Bell got a chance to live up to the perseverance concept in the Leader In Me program at their school as they chose to sing and dance to the song “My Guy” without music because the CD failed to play. Their performance was followed by enthusiastic applause from the crowd. Later, the crowd danced along to songs performed by the Mount Airy High School Band led by Jonathan Jones.
Director of Child Nutrition Elke Boyd said 400 spaghetti dinners had been served to event participants by 7 p.m. and they were planning on serving more before the event ended at 8 p.m. Boyd said they welcomed the chance to showcase their recipes. She said community night served as a way to get the work out that school nutritionists provide hot breakfasts and lunches as well as a free snack to students in grades K-8.
“We offer a great program for out students,” said Boyd. “We do a lot of what we call scratch cooking. This sauce tonight has a mixture of 85/15 lean ground beef and whole wheat noodles for the spaghetti.
Tharrington PTO President Reagan Tidd said one unanticipated result of the event was parents and students going to booths from other schools and learning about what they had to offer.
“They’re finding out a lot about things beyond their own schools,” said Tidd. “This has let a lot of people know the resources are here and it’s built a larger sense of community. It’s celebrating the kids success and I think it is awesome to see the little kids here too.”
Members of the event committee recognized at community night included Tidd, Andrea Draughn, Dianne Johnson, Beth Pequeno, Lone Cooke and Pepper Mayes.
Reach David Broyles at firstname.lastname@example.org or 336-719-1952.