Submitted by Barbara Slone, Technical Assistance Provider

Bowers School, a member of SPDG Cohort 1, has become more welcoming to families and community members than ever before. Through the leadership of Principal Dr. Mary Lou Ruggiero, Bowers operates under the belief that every child will learn. One of the vehicles to communicate that belief to families and the community is the school’s Family Resource Center (FRC).

Bowers’ FRC is run by Latasha Easterling-Turnquest, who is also coordinator for FRCs across the district. Easterling-Turnquest and Bowers Principal Dr. Mary Lou Ruggiero meet monthly to share recent activities and coordinate outreach to parents and community members around school academic, social, and behavioral priorities.

Ms. Easterling-Turnquest, a longtime Manchester resident whose children attend the public schools, has taken several approaches to outreach. She partners with families, community organizations and agencies, and other district schools by providing information and resources at events such as the PTA’s monthly Multicultural Nights. The FRC sponsors a series of Family Nights highlighting academics, bringing families together to discuss student achievement. At Lunch Bunches, students have lunch with a parent or caring family member, engaging in one purely fun activity and one literacy-based activity.

These events serve to introduce families to what students are learning and encourage the enjoyment of time together. By inviting families into the school building, the school helps make them feel like special guests.

Once visitors enter the school, they are first greeted by the school secretary whose tone and body language is warm and welcoming, helping all visitors to feel relaxed and at home at Bowers.

Readers are welcome to contact Dr. Ruggiero at (860) 647-3313 or Ms. Easterling-Turnquest (860) 647-3521, ext. 73506 for information on their programs of family engagement.

Published: February 2, 2015