SHELBYVILLE — School district leaders, local businesses and even students from Eastern Illinois University are uniting in Shelbyville to plan a new family event that promotes literacy, family meals and social/emotional wellness.
The event on Tuesday, March 31 doesn't have a name yet, but they're working on that. “We have an idea for a family engagement event and hopefully, we'll be able to come up with a more clear title,” said Ryan Scott, principal of Main Street School in Shelbyville. “We haven't really named it.”
The planning group met for a second time on Monday to iron out more details about the evening, with activities scheduled from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Parents will be able to drop off their kids at Shelbyville High School, where the kids will get a free taekwondo session, crafts and a talent show, while parents go across the street to Moulton Middle School, where they'll be able to hear a keynote speaker, and take their choice of several breakout sessions on topics like stress management, the role of sports with youth, kindergarten readiness and family recreation opportunities at Lake Shelbyville.
After the event, when parents go to pick up their children, each family will receive a large free pizza from Monical's or Joe's Pizza in Shelbyville, which they can take home for dinner as a family, Scott said.
“We're going to ask them to post a photo of their family (on social media) with the hashtag 'EAT together, READ together,'” Scott said.
Organizations involved in the planning and execution of the event include Pearcy's Taekwondo, the two pizza restaurants, Shelby County Mental Health, HSHS Good Shepherd Hospital, the Army Corps of Engineers and several teachers and staff from the district schools.
“Any time we share social/emotional strategies, the kids get excited about it and they want to go home and share them with their families,” said Angie Kelly, who teaches at Main Street and is the Positive Interventions and Supports Tier I leader.
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Kids who learn healthy coping skills at a young age do better in school and in life, Kelly said. By offering parents training in helping their kids — and themselves — develop those skills, everyone wins.
Another group involved in the planning is the Rural Teacher Corps at Eastern Illinois University. That group, made up of students studying to be teachers, university faculty and representatives from small districts, works to encourage young teachers to seek positions in rural districts.
Dakota Crowder, a senior at Eastern, said she wants to teach in a small district because she came from one herself. She grew up in Charleston. Helping with the Shelbyville event is a way to be involved in a small district's success.
“It's all about community in a small town,” Crowder said.
Scott told the group at Monday's meeting that academics are important and he's proud of the district's accomplishments in that area, but he doesn't want them to stop there.
“Our base model is to turn out a good person,” he said. “Motivated, and proud to come from Shelbyville.”
Contact Valerie Wells at (217) 421-7982. Follow her on Twitter: @modgirlreporter