Strategies for Student Success 2015 - Page 18

“The school is most definitely the centerpiece of this community,” Grassy Fork teacher Mark Tocholke said. “All activities revolve around the school itself.” Principal Judy Webb maintains an “open-door policy,” meaning that any community member can come in anytime for a cup of coffee or a fast Internet connection. With low connectivity levels in the mountains – most Grassy Fork students don’t have computers at home – this is an important service. 17 original stories aloud in the school’s outdoor classroom. The Family Craft Night in December, a “Bingo for Books” community supper in March, and a bluegrass festival in the spring are just a few other events on the calendar. The events are well attended by school families and community members alike, according to Grassy Fork parent Jennifer Baxter. “You won’t be able to find a parking spot,” Ms. Baxter said. “Anybody can come in here and research what kind of medicine Grandma needs to take, how to get to Myrtle Beach on MapQuest,” said Dr. Webb. “It’s a hub of communication. Parents do feel welcome here – very welcome here.” This culture translates into valuable community support for the school and students, meeting material needs of the school and its kids while making a meaningful statement that academic work is supported. Special events bring families to the school throughout the year, providing monthly opportunities to celebrate what kids are learning. A school picnic in August introduces parents to kids’ teachers and gets the year off to a good start with a 100foot, soap-covered tarp for sliding. In October, at Spooky Story Night, students write and read Fundraisers including the bluegrass festival and a community Thanksgiving dinner raise thousands of dollars, used to meet needs ranging from technology to textbooks to basketball uniforms. Financial support also allows students to take annual trips to destinations like Nashville and Washington, D.C. Grassy Fork’s outdoor classroom was constructed