This spring, Winooski Middle/High School launched Learning Walks, a new opportunity for families and schools to work together to build a bright future for our youth and our community. Supported by a Partnership for Change mini-grant, WMHS held its first Learning Walk on May 21, 2013. During the three-hour event, families toured the school with Principal Leon Wheeler, observed WMHS classrooms in action, and engaged in a discussion about how Winooski School District works. To ensure the Learning Walk would be relevant to the experiences of all Winooski families, including New American families, organizers researched cross-cultural education systems in preparation for the event. A broad group participated in the pilot Learning Walk, including parents, students, guidance counselors, teachers, administrators, family-school liaisons, school social workers, and community service providers.Above: Students, families, and educators come together for the first WMHS Learning Walk.
What is a Learning Walk?
- An opportunity to walk in your child’s shoes and experience school from your child’s perspective.
- An opportunity to build relationships between schools and families with our students at the center of this partnership.
- An opportunity to understand how Winooski Middle/High School and Winooski School District work.
- An opportunity to engage in ongoing conversation in order to promote students’ academic achievement and overall wellbeing.
Learning Walk Schedule
9:00-9:30 am | Gathering in the main lobby
9:30-10:10 am | Introductions and tour of the school led by Principal Wheeler
10:15-11:30 am | Discussion of the U.S. education system and Winooski School District
11:30 to 12:00 | Lunch
Learning and Next Steps
Through follow-up conversations with parents and staff, the organizers found the event to be a great first step toward strengthening family-school partnerships in Winooski. Parents particularly enjoyed meeting Principal Leon Wheeler, deepening their understanding of what students learn in WMHS classrooms, and the overall feeling that they are welcome in the school.
This first Learning Walk also pointed to some exciting next steps to take as we look to deepen these relationships. Going forward, WMHS hopes to create comprehensive outreach packets and deliver them to families, engage in a door-to-door campaign to share information about school happenings and opportunities for collaboration, incorporate Learning Walks into the orientation process for new students and their families, promote increased student participation in and ownership of Learning Walks, and engage self-identified parent-leaders in steps along the way.
For more information about the Learning Walks or the steps ahead, please contact WMHS Family-School Partnership Coordinator Anera Fočo at (802) 734-8009 or gro.s1449494493loohc1449494493sdsw@1449494493ocofa1449494493.