At Barton, we are working diligently to promote parental involvement in all aspects of a student’s academic career. But involving parents in our informational meetings — such as the School Site Council and the English Learner Advisory Committee — has been a challenge.

We had to think out of the box. We had to give our families dessert before we served them vegetables.

A model assembly at Barton Elementary School.
Families gather to watch their students perform at Barton Elementary School’s Model Assembly.

On the last Thursday of each month, we invite parents to our Model Assembly to recognize students who demonstrate Positive Behavior Intervention & Support (PBiS) skills: Being Safe, Being Respectful, and Being Responsible.

K. Delgado, our dance teacher, prepares each grade level to perform once a month at the Model Assembly to encourage parent attendance. We send home a notice to inform parents at each grade level about the scheduled performance. Immediately following the assembly, we announce that we will be conducting our SSC and ELAC meetings.  I approach parents personally and welcome them to stay.

Adding student performances to our Model Assembly has changed the face of Barton’s parent meetings. Families come out to support their students, and the excitement motivates them to stay and “eat their vegetables” at our SSC and ELAC meetings. When our students are full of energy and confidence to perform, our parents embrace all that Barton has to offer.

About the Author: Janice Gordon-Ellis is the principal of Barton Elementary School.