With schools across the country welcoming students back in a variety of ways, from distance learning to in-person learning in the classroom, or a combination of the two, school leaders at Paragon Charter Academy found several unique ways to help families prepare for success ahead of their first day back in late August.
Traditionally, Paragon hosts an annual Kindergarten Round-Up event in the spring. However, last year’s event was ultimately canceled due to the pandemic. School leaders were thrilled to be able to offer a variation of this beloved event in a new way, by welcoming in-person and virtual students to attend a Popsicles Event.
“The popsicles event was a wonderful way to welcome our Young Five and kindergarten families prior to the first day of school,” said Michelle White, admissions representative at Paragon. “It was a very valuable opportunity. Families were able to meet their child's teacher, outside, in a socially distanced, safe way.”
Families also were given the opportunity to participate in a guided tour of one of the school’s kindergarten classrooms. Following the tour, on their way out, families picked up a special Kindergarten Round-Up t-shirt, a backpack, and a popsicle. Teachers lined the sidewalks to greet families with smiles and elbow bumps, with everyone in attendance wearing masks.
Additionally, Paragon partnered with K105.3, Jackson’s Hit Music Station, for an on-site, contact-free backpack giveaway. Families from across the area were invited to drive through the school’s parking lot to gather backpacks without even leaving their vehicles!
“We gave away approximately 150 backpacks during our partnership with K105.3,” said White. “It was a great way to reach out to the Jackson community and offer any assistance that we can.”
School leaders agreed it was vital to host events like these ahead of the new year since other similar events were not an option this past year. By ensuring strategic planning, from allowing families to opt-in to virtual versions of welcome-back events to enforcing safety practices at in-person events, Paragon’s families were given options to fit their comfortability in getting set for the year ahead. “We made it a priority to offer a few events, some in-person and others virtual, to assist with welcoming families,” White said.
“We feel it is important to host events like these during these unusual days because the more times that a student visits their prospective school, the more comfortable they will be on their first day,” shared White.