Ukiah Unified School District

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The Power of Partnership, Innovation and Learning

School Desk Blog: Stronger Together


The results are in! According to the most recent Calpella Elementary School family survey, 98 percent of the families feel they are welcome at school and that they are meaningfully involved in their student’s education. These results are so important to us, as Calpella Elementary School has been focusing on increasing parent engagement while creating a positive school climate. 

At school, we can provide a safe and encouraging learning environment. We can introduce students to new and interesting ideas and information. We can provide emotional support when students are struggling and celebrate with them when they succeed. But nothing is as impactful as having an engaged and supportive family.

We know many of our families are busy and need our help to fully engage in their student’s school experience, so we’ve made it a priority to help families be as involved as possible. One way our school has encouraged parent participation is by implementing a program that rewards students for their family’s participation in classroom activities and schoolwide events. Every time a family member participates, the student receives a Cub Buck to spend at a monthly prize cart. At the end of the year, we host a parent volunteer celebration where families receive certificates of appreciation, the staff serves the families dinner and the families also have an opportunity to win raffle prizes. After reviewing this year’s survey results, it’s no surprise that our end-of-the-year celebration had the highest attendance ever!

Another essential component of our success this year has been friendly, consistent communication. We firmly believe there is no such thing as too much communication. In addition to the monthly newsletters and calendars we send home (and post on our website), Calpella families can stay up on current events through the Calpella PTO Facebook page. The Calpella PTO does a great job updating families with all sorts of positive communication all year long.

The parents who manage the PTO Facebook page began the year by posting pictures with job descriptions about all staff members. This way, Calpella families had an opportunity to get to know more than just their classroom teacher. The Calpella PTO parents also post information anytime there are important district updates, school fundraisers, or free fun family events like Movie Night or Ties and Tiaras (a family dance night). Families have learned this year that they can depend on the Calpella PTO Facebook page for all kinds of information, not only about Calpella school, but about the entire school district and even some important community resources. 

Looking back over the tragedy of the fires, I have to say that I never could have predicted the heartache our Calpella families and staff would endure. But as is often the case in tragic situations, people find out what they are made of and who they can depend on for help. Out of this heartache has come unimaginable support from our community of families. Words alone are not enough to thank the wonderful community that supports Calpella Elementary School.  We have learned the hard way that we are STRONGER TOGETHER!