Celebrating dads, and empowering families

A total of 39 families, 125 guardians, and scholars from Movement School, as well as a wide array of community partners, attended a fathers-focused event to celebrate and boost the importance of male figures in a child’s education.
The event was part of a larger family empowerment initiative taking place in collaboration with Movement Charter School and Ashley Park PreK-8 of Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools.
“We’ve been fortunate to be part of this amazing initiative between these two schools and communities,” said Greg Schermbeck, founder of ShermCo.  
Throughout the year, Movement School and Ashley Park have held 20 total family nights to support their families. The nights often consist of family and scholar workshops with a specific focus on family feedback.
“Each school wanted to take an innovative and data-driven approach to rethink how family empowerment could affect families’ feelings towards the school as well as academic and behavior outcomes for kids,” Schermbeck said.  “We’ve been blown away by the results.”
But this night was about dad.
“The awareness of a father figure’s presence is very important,” said Toi Bellany, father of two students at Movement Charter School. “Fathers are strong and they’re the foundation for most households.”
“The Fathers family night was impactful because there was such a great turnout and many people are looking forward to the next one.”
Families are also offered dinner and transportation to and from each event. Movement has averaged 68 families and 213 total people in attendance over the 10 families nights held in the 2018-2019 school year.
Beyond the attendance numbers, Jamie Sumter, Movement’s School Leader, is seeing a ripple effect across the school.
“As a school, we understand that parent engagement is vital to our success. Through this initiative, we’ve been able to connect with our families in new and meaningful ways,” Sumter said.  “This has had an impact on students social-emotional well-being, academics and behavior.”
Each family night is planned by using monthly family survey data as well as academic and behavior trends throughout the school. A select committee of Movement staff meets each month to review the data and plan these nights to ensure they align with family feedback.
“When it comes to engaging in our kids at school, fathers normally take a back seat and let the mothers do the school involvement,'' said Lamont Moore, physical education teacher and member of the family empowerment committee at Movement School.
“Our most recent family night was an opportunity for fathers to get invited to the school and in support of their child.”
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