On Wednesday, May 13th, Roosevelt Elementary hosted its first of what we hope to be many family barbecues at Valley Center Park. With over 650 people in attendance, this inaugural event was a huge success!
As a Community School, Roosevelt serves as a hub for services and resources for our students and their families. Ideally, families are able to easily and frequently visit the school to utilize these resources, attend events, and get to know our teachers and staff. However, with the majority of Roosevelt’s families living miles away from the school and not having access to transportation, getting parents to the school has not been the easiest thing to do. We have hosted events at Roosevelt in the past, such as parent-teacher conferences, family nights, and celebrations with great success. But, we wanted to find a way to take the burden of traveling to our school off our families so we could foster the community we knew existed. We wanted to meet our families where they were—literally!
This is what made our barbecue so special. As all of us with family and friends across the country know, investing in those long-distance relationships must be more intentional than the relationships we have with those who live next door. Roosevelt wanted its families to know how much their engagement and shared ownership in their children’s education is appreciated. For the first time, instead of parents and students returning to the school for an event, Roosevelt traveled to them.
And there was more that made this event truly significant: we had more than just teachers in attendance. We had the families (and pets!) of our teachers and staff, but we also had representation from so many of the Collective Impact partners that make Roosevelt a successful community school. We had employees of the City of South Salt Lake, the International Rescue Committee, Granite School District, and more. Roosevelt’s Coach Ken of Playworks, a national organization committed to increasing positive behavior through play, hosted games and activities—including some improvised four square using just the sidewalk cracks as boundaries. Some of our students who attend the afterschool program at Sunnyvale Neighborhood Center, run by the Asian Association of Utah, finished soccer practice in the park then came to eat with us as well.