December 16, 2014 23:12 Age: 3 yrs

“Team & Family”: Hundreds Gather For AF Providence Family Game Night

Category: News, Home

Elizabeth Winangun is Achievement First’s associate director of community engagement for Rhode Island.

Recently, Achievement First Providence Mayoral Academy Elementary hosted our first Family Game Night. When I initially met with our social worker about the event, she was hoping that about 50 students and their families would attend. I have led a lot of family engagement activities throughout the years and I thought that was a fairly lofty goal.

A few weeks later, a flier went home asking families to RSVP so that we could plan accordingly for pizza and refreshments. Within a week we had received 350 RSVPs, and they kept rolling in. With only 272 students in kindergarten through second grade, this number was truly astounding. When Family Game Night finally kicked off, Achievement First Providence Mayoral Academy Elementary welcomed 417 students, parents and siblings.

Families donated raffle prizes and almost every single teacher and school leader stepped up to volunteer; our physical education teacher led kick ball games in the gym, our drama teacher led family acting activities, and teachers led the large group in several rounds of bingo and board games. 

This event truly reinforced what I have always believed about family involvement. When a school has a warm, welcoming culture that embraces parents as partners, they will come. When students love their school and their teachers they will make sure their families know how much they want to attend school events. In my 15 years of experience supporting family engagement work, I have never seen so many families attend a school-based event that was not at all mandatory. It is clear to me that I am certainly not the only one who loves coming to Achievement First Providence Mayoral Academy every day.  Our students and their families do, too.