Reid Temple A.M.E. Church (Reid Temple) in conjunction with ED’s White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for African Americans (WHIEEAA) and the ED’s Center for Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships (CFBNP) found a way to get parents and children excited about going back to school. On August 28th, they hosted a Family Engagement Back-to-School Summit filled with information on how to support children in school and in life along with having fun at the church’s Silver Spring, Maryland location.
The focus of the summit was to reach out to families in the community and encourage greater family engagement in their children’s education. We had education representatives from kindergarten through college, including a school Principal and college President, and professional organizations. Most were members of Reid Temple A.M.E. Church congregation, demonstrating the resources available in one’s own community. Free books from the Maryland Book Bank were provided to the children who attended. The Maryland Book Bank, located in Baltimore, MD, is available to all Maryland residents and programs to pick up free books for children.
It was amazing to see the children attending the summit involved in the discussion. They talked about what was important to them when it came to their education. To hear them say they wanted love, support and patience from their teachers and parents was breathtaking. The parents were given the chance to talk about ways they are helping their children in and outside of school. The summit was a listening and learning session for all.
Rev. Russell St. Bernard “Rev. Russ” of Reid Temple organized the summit with a goal in mind. “Our goal for the Family Engagement Summit is to empower students, parents, and administrators alike to make this school year the best one yet! By providing experts in the field, free resources, as well as encouraging dialog amongst peer-groups (adults and students), we expect for all those who attend the summit to leave with practical tools that they will be able to use immediately in the life of their student.”
Rev. Russell St. Bernard “Rev. Russ” and members of Reid Temple worked with David Johns, Director of the WHIEEAA, Frances Frost, Family Ambassador Fellow of the Campagna Center and Angel Rush of the CFBNP to create such a powerful and meaningful summit. We are looking to plan additional educational forums with Reid Temple and hopefully other churches in the area in order to reach families and communities that are less represented in school engagement.
By Angel Rush, Center for Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships and Frances M. Frost, Family Ambassador Fellow, The Campagna Center