Project EASE (Early Access to Success in Education) is called a "family connection program." During the evening, parents are invited to attend an after-school program with their children, and together they participate in education activities created to help the parent become more involved in their child's learning.
"We have six kindergarden classes that (were) invited. We typically have between 30 to 50 students. Depending on ball games and weather and parent schedules," said Sheila Bobst, literacy specialist at Washington-Nile Elementary School
She said the school has participated in the EASE program for five years, and this was the fifth, and final, project of the current school year school year.
"We had one in September, and one in October," Bobst said. "Every night has a different focus."
The first project of the school, in September, was called "Cracking the Code" and showed parents how to teach their kids to break down words and letters, and the sounds they make. Some of the topics covered during that event focused on vocabulary development, the importance of reading with your child, and narrative storytelling.
Monday night's project was focused on incorporating science into reading instruction with students.
"When parents first get here at 5:30 (p.m.) we have pizza and chips and pop for everyone. The teachers circulate and meet with the parents, and it's very informal kind of thing," Bobst said. "Then at 6 p.m. I do a parent-education session with the parents, and whatever the focus is of the evening ... say it's writing, I show them the different stages of writing. During that time, the students go with their teacher to their classroom, and from 6:30-7:30 (p.m.) the parents go to the children's classrooms and do activities that reinforce the theme from that night."
High school students also provide baby-sitting services at the school, under the supervision of an adviser.
"When the children leave, they take books that have activities they can do at home and bring them back to the teacher to share what they did at home," Bobst said.
RYAN SCOTT OTTNEY can be reached at (740) 353-3101, ext. 235.