GPAEA Supports WMU’s “Out of This World” Family Night

Submitted by Lynn Selking, GPAEA Math Specialist, & Patricia Jones, WMU Instructional Coach

The Winfield-Mt. Union Elementary (preschool-5th grade) held an “Out of This World” Family Night on March 18. Ms. Patricia Jones, Instructional Coach for the district, held monthly meetings to plan and prepare with the help of the elementary principal, the Great Prairie AEA staff, and elementary teachers.  The Winfield-Mt. Union teachers and administration all volunteered to help in certain areas throughout the evening.

Elementary principal, Gabe Wylder, served the meal and experienced the activities with students and their families.  Superintendent, Jeff Maeder, also helped serve the meal and experienced some activities. Middle School/ High School teachers Kathy Mullin, Jill Blake, Lindsey Pogmore, and Kathy Holtkamp provided the night with student volunteers, food, child care serves, and technical abilities for our W-MU Trivia Kahoot competition.  The Elementary teachers helped the GPAEA specialists with their area of expertise: Amy Krieger, Angie Jandrey, Darby Harris, Sara Frahs, Lynn Riley, Emilie Olveda, Ronda Schinstock, Mary Miller, Tabitha Unternahrer and Melissa Selzer, along with paraeducators, Tracy Stucker, Jill Townsley, and Melissa Ball.

Preschool-5th-grade students accompanied adult family members and older siblings to classrooms for specific activities.  The doors opened at 5:00 with a meal and 5:30 for activities.

Miss Selzer, the WMU Title 1 teacher, shared her program and activities with any families that wanted to learn more about the program.

Shelli Blazic, Positive Behavioral Intervention Systems trainer for Great Prairie AEA, shared positive ways to express feelings with families through activities.  Emotional regulation and awareness was the center of the activities shared. Ms. Katelyn McKim, the WMU guidance counselor, and Mrs. Lynn Riley assisted families as well. 

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Miss Sara Frahs enjoyed helping families log onto a Kahoot competition game of WMU staff, school, and community Trivia.  She had some awesome HS helpers as well.

Many families enjoyed the new Digital Planetarium.  Tracy Jarrett, Science Consultant for Great Prairie, along with Mrs. Mary Miller and Mrs. Rhonda Schinstock provided expert “tours” of the Cosmos! There was only enough time for four rounds of 20-minute tours, but the planetarium was full each time.  Mary and Rhonda attended the certification workshop in Burlington on March 8th. This training allows teachers access to check out the Digital Planetarium during the school year. The Digital planetarium provides students a model of space. This technology was brand new to Great Prairie AEA at the end of last school year.  Incorporating the planetarium into their curriculum supports several of the new Iowa Science Standards in first, fifth, seventh, and high school.

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Ms. Emily Olveda hosted the Math room where families played games and worked puzzles.  The hanging balance game (Suspend) with the wire pieces was wildly popular. A whole bunch of youngsters learned (or remembered) how to play the card game Garbage, suggested by Great Prairie Math Consultant, Lynn Selking, who assisted Ms. Olveda. 

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Mrs. Tabitha Unternahrer and Mrs. Jill Townsley worked with their paraprofessionals to create a fun and active night for the 3-4-year-old preschool students and their families.  A photo booth was available for pictures and all the students had the opportunity to make play dough.

Ms. Harris, Mrs. Jandrey, and Kara Veach, Great Prairie Literacy Consultant, assisted families with the making of “constellations.”  The Big Dipper and Leo the Lion were overwhelmingly the favorites. After the students made their constellation cup, they were invited to the cozy Reading Nook to curl up with a large selection of books about stars and constellations.

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Winfield-Mt Union CSD families really came together as a community supporting the positive engagement and school success of their students at Family Night.  This is so important for our young students.

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