Encouraging a caring community

Published 9:49 am Friday, October 10, 2014

By Jessica Cabeen

Woodson Principal

Being the principal of one of the largest all-day kindergarten centers in Minnesota has many perks and many challenges. Our school has over 18 different home languages and 51 percent of our student population are students of color. With that we have wonderful opportunities to learn from our families and our students who bring such diverse experiences to the front door every day that shape how we teach and learn with each other.

Email newsletter signup

Last year, the Search Institute had some of our students featured in a video that highlighted ‘150 Ways to Show Kids You Care.’ That nudge got us thinking: How could we grow more of these experiences and share with others? Enter the #150WKC Challenge Idea.

Thanks to a generous donation each child at Woodson received the new edition of “150 Ways to Show Kids You Care.” As a way of sharing this resource and encouraging our parents to get out and try these ideas we asked families to complete the following: Read through the poster, choose one or two “ways” your family shows you care, take a picture of this and post it on our Facebook page with the hashtag #150WKC.

The response has been wonderful! To see families sharing their weekend activities, evening homework time, or walking in nature has been inspiring.

To date, over 2,000 people have viewed the site and the introductory video that goes along with the challenge. Parents are catching me in the morning and at bus dismissal to let me know how excited their child is in participating in this challenge. Staff members have also joined in and participated in the posting— this has in turn increased parent participation and support of our project. We have even had local TV broadcasters post pictures sharing in the community wide response.

What have we learned from this? That families are ready and willing to do whatever it takes to encourage their child’s learning. Finding out what it takes may be small, but it makes a large impact.