This year the Madison Metropolitan School District (MMSD) celebrated its 10th annual celebration of Read Your Heart Out day in conjunction with National African American Parent Involvement Day on Friday, February 7, 2014*. This program brings African American and other parents, family members and community members to read to classes in 16 participating elementary schools.
Read Your Heart Out day is just one of the many ways in which the MMSD is working to encourage family and community engagement in the schools as outlined in the Strategic Framework Priority area 3 to make families feel welcomed, valued and connected to each other, to school staff and to what students are learning and doing in class. Families are and can be active participants in the life of the school, and all families were welcome to participate.
One student said of the event: "It's really cool that we are getting to know our classmates' family members!" while another was thrilled with the book they were reading: "The story (Chocolate Me) was all about how I am beautiful! Everyone in our class is beautiful too!"
National African American Parent Involvement Day (NAAPID) was established by a Michigan principal in 1997 and takes place yearly on the second Monday in February.
This community and school partnership event began at Midvale Elementary School and has grown to include Allis, Falk, Glendale, Gompers, Hawthorne, Huegel, Kennedy, Lake View, Lapham, Leopold, Lowell, Mendota, Schenk, Stephens and Van Hise elementary schools.
Read Your Heart Out programs vary from school to school, but all have one thing in common: an edifying experience for the school community that brings together families, community members, and schools in observance of NAAPID and African American History Month. One Hawthorne staff member commented, "It makes an impact for kids to see so many different adults come and share who care about reading, and care about the kids."
* Midvale held their event on February 11 and Lowell held theirs on February 14