The Action Team for Partnerships (ATP) at Lynnhaven Elementary School invited the Money Matters program into the school to strengthen the students' math skills as they "traveled" to the imaginary town of Pennyville. Created by two former teachers, the program works on a contract basis with schools to provide games and activities for a money-focused math night. The most recent event brought in more than 200 students and 80 parents.
"I was surprised by the great turnout that we had," admitted Karen Shiley. "It was great that parents seemed to have such a good time participating in the games with their children."
For her part, Shiley, a reading recovery teacher at the Virginia Beach (Virginia) school, helps to organize the 25 volunteers who learn to run the games and manage the activities during their evening event. Each November, students and families come to share a night of family fun that really "adds up." It includes dinner and a slew of money-related math games, from "Crack the Safe," a game that requires students to guess the amount of candy in a safe, to "Roll Down the Debt," a dice game about place value.
"This was a very good way to have a parent involvement activity. If the funds are available, it takes a lot of stress off of the faculty," said Shiley.
While not every school can take advantage of the services of a contractor, it is something to consider. Programs like Money Matters remove the obstacles of planning time and set-up at a time when the schedules of parents and teachers have only gotten busier. Lynnhaven Elementary School covered the costs for Money Matters with parent involvement funds and donations from local businesses.
Shiley added, "It was an easy way to support our parent involvement goals because we only had to get volunteers to attend the one night, and it was a great community evening."
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