Elementary School News

Shelter Rock School principal: engaging families key to successful students

(October 25, 2013) 

DANBURY, CONN. — Julia Horne, principal of Shelter Rock School, says that engaging and empowering families to be involved in their children’s learning process is the key to a successful school and thriving students. And she knows just the ways to get that done.

 For 18 years, Horne says parent participation in teacher-parent conferences had been 100 percent – so where’s the room for improvement? For the past several years has improved on the system by having students in fourth and fifth grade lead their own conferences.

“It’s a powerful tool to have students take leadership of their education,” Horne said. “Students talk about their strengths and their needs for improvement, what they are planning to do and how the parents can help. Those students really achieve.”

Proving that her mantra: “the more involved the parent, the higher the success of the child” is more than words, Horne instituted family literacy nights several years ago for families of second graders.

“We sell education and we promote Shelter Rock School,” Horne said. “It’s a partnership between the school and the families. Parents provide feedback. Over the years, I have interfaced with more than 600 households in this program.

“We talk about school, using technology and their future. How do you see your child as a student?” Horne said. “We talk about where to do homework, in a quiet place. This all happens in one night and all the parents do is open up their homes.”

Horne said on any given night, there are three to 15 families in one house, and the event is held four to five times a year.

Horne said the evening culminates with her reading a book to the children and talking to them about what was read.

“It shows the parents what their children do with reading in the classroom, and how they talk about it. We talk about the setting and problems and solutions so parents get an idea of how to read with their children.”

#Danbury Board of Education#

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