GAINESVILLE - Under a new concept, and in response to suggestions from the community, the Gainesville City School System (GCSS) invites the public to visit each of its schools this fall.
The initiative is called Family and Community Engagement Nights or FACE Nights. The purpose is to open the school system's facilities to all families and community members to visit the school, participate in family activities, and receive information from school and community agencies.
"We wanted to have another opportunity for our parents and community to come out and connect with the school, but we didn't want it to be like another PTA meeting or a sit-and-get," said Director of Learning Supports Jarod Anderson.
The first Family and Community Engagement Night will be Tuesday, August 20, from 6:00 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. at Gainesville High School.
This new approach is in response to parent and community surveys, according to school officials. It differs from previous family programs in that anyone is invited, regardless of the school of enrollment.
FACE Nights will feature open computer labs, a variety of activities for students and parents, and several break-out sessions for parents and students to explore particular topics. There will also be a chance for participants to ask questions and offer suggestions for the school district.
Anderson says the general Q & A session will feature some technology , allowing participants to text their questions to a website which will, in turn, display the questions so school officials can answer.
"Someone might not want to get up in front of everyone ad ask a question," Anderson said. "We'll have people positioned so they can type it into an iPad or use their cell phone and it'll come up on a screen and we can address those questions."
Anderson says the initial session is followed by break-out sessions with activities in different rooms. The activities are not school or class specific, with staff on hand for questions.
Tuesday's event will begin in the GHS Gymnasium at 6:00 p.m. Participants may select sessions to attend based on their interests.
Future FACE Nights are scheduled for:
September 10 @ Gainesville Middle School @ 6:00 p.m.
September 26@ New Holland Knowledge Academy @ 6:00 p.m.
October 10 @ Centennial Arts Academy @ 6:00 p.m.
October 24 @ Enota @ 6:00 p.m.
November 7 @ Gainesville Exploration @ 6:00 p.m.
November 21 @ Fair Street IB School @ 6:00 p.m.
December 5 @ Wood s Mill @ 6:00 p.m.