Submitted by Terry (Tarold) D. Miller, Technical Assistance Provider

Derby Middle School (DMS) has been implementing some great strategies to attempt to reach the families and community of the students they serve. DMS has been actively participating with the SPDG grant and has continued to attempt to strive for greatness. DMS implemented a culture night which was an international sensation. The culture night was the brain child of an 8th grade Social Studies teacher (Lynn D’Andrea). Families were invited and, being culturally sensitive, the invites were sent out in more than one language. Derby Middle School is being explicit in acknowledging that they are a culturally diverse community and wanted to offer families and community members an opportunity to meet, greet, and break bread with everyone involved in the student’s lives.

DMS took the opportunity to celebrate their students and their families and to learn more about each student’s culture, language, and individual history of their ancestral nations. An invitation was sent to all families and a participation form was attached to each invite. This participation form was to be submitted by each family that was interested in bringing a dish. The invite also encouraged students and families to wear or bring in traditional clothing, artifacts, music, a flag, or anything they would like to display that was representative of their country of origin.  Emphasis was made on welcoming all families and students and it was pointed out that families were not obligated to bring anything as this event was only a way for school-based staff to form genuine relationships with students, families, and community members. The 7th grade students were working on displays and banners during and after school to share and celebrate each culture. 6th grade also had students create heritage displays which showcased the history of their individual families and their countries of origin. After all of the dust settled they had a significant turnout and it was a deliciously successful night. 

Published: March 23, 2015