In December, Heart River Elementary (HRE) and Prairie Rose Elementary (PRE) joined a pilot program in partnership with the Central Regional Education Association and became North Dakota Full-Service Community Schools. The full-service community school model promotes a "whole child, whole family" approach to student success, focusing on family engagement, wellness, early childhood development, and community-based support.
Through generous grants, HRE and PRE hired Site Coordinators who connect the school's needs to the resources available in the community, region, and state. In January, Sherry Leavitt and Kim Goodall, the schools' site coordinators, applied for and received a $10,000 Family Engagement Grant from the Department of Public Instruction.
Working with their school's principals, they determined that family engagement and literacy would be their primary focus, and the "Dive into Books Literacy Carnival" was created! This carnival was developed to create a low-stakes environment for parents and caregivers to engage with their children around the topic of literacy (reading). Over 1,050 people attended the carnival last Saturday, May 6th, at the WRCC. Students and families could play games for great prizes, have a free meal including hot dogs and cotton candy, jump to their heart's delight in the bounce house, and choose a brand-new book together.
A big thank you to the Dickinson Public Schools Foundation for approving two mini-grants to supply each student with a new reading tote bag; the Bakken BBQ for providing hot dogs, chips, water, and juice for all our attendees; the West Dakota Parent & Family Resource Center; the Reading Rodeo, and the Dickinson Public Library for the amazing booths. Thank you to the numerous volunteers who helped make this event possible, the Girl Scouts Troop 86710, the Dickinson Middle School Student Council, Badlands Big Sticks – Teddy!, Gate City Bank, Cornerstone Bank, the River of Life Church - Pastor Andrea Mathison and church members, Best Friends Mentoring, Dickinson High School FBLA, and numerous HRE and PRE parents and staff including Ms. Sanford.