Students and families gathered in the school gym on the floor, ready to watch a movie Harry Sayers - March Movie Night

“Reach for the Stars”: Engaging the Harry Sayers Parent Community

March 15, 2024

At Harry Sayers Elementary, one of our goals is to strive to “Increase parent and community engagement” as part of our School Plan and the School District Strategic Plan. During the pandemic, parents were not able to volunteer or be part of the school community like they once were. Parents did not experience what it was like to be involved parents, often waiting for updates through some form of technology (email, See-Saw, online classrooms, etc.)  In some instances, we have found that parents need to be engaged more than before, as some parents don’t have the background or knowledge of what it “looks like” to be involved in a school community. We also must be mindful to embrace and support the rich diversity in our school community as we have 19 different countries and 21 different languages represented. 

For the past few years at Harry Sayers, we have tried to foster increased engagement by improving school communication through new school signage, parent evening information sessions, written newsletters, video newsletters (translated into Punjabi), online parent-teacher conference booking, and online Hot Lunch ordering. We have supported parents by providing online platform “help sessions” so parents can sign up and troubleshoot the many websites we ask them to navigate. 
With these efforts, we have been very excited to see parents coming out to support many events at our school. Well-attended events include concerts, sporting activities, cultural celebrations, and most recently, a movie night, which had over 400 people. Our movie night was so popular that we had to turn people away at the door due to gym capacity limitations. 

Before the end of the school year, we are personally inviting parent representatives from each classroom to join us for a “Parents as Partners Evening.”  Our goal is two-fold!  We will discuss the important role a parent plays in our school community and ask parents what we can do to increase their involvement in a meaningful way. Additionally, we will be asking parents for their “voice”, asking for their input and guidance around what they think we can do to make our school a better place and more enjoyable for everyone. 

The message is clear as parents have shown us that they, in fact, are willing to engage if given the opportunity. At Harry Sayers, we call ourselves the “Stars” and we often tell our students to “Reach for the Stars!” As a school and as a staff, we will continue to do the same as it relates to making sure our parents are involved and are meaningful participants in their child’s learning and school community.

Harry Sayers Elementary