Savin Rock starts 'Homework Diner'
Savin Rock starts 'Homework Diner'
Posted on 10/15/2014
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WEST HAVEN, Oct. 10, 2014 — A local diner was a homework hotspot Monday evening for Savin Rock Community School first-grade families, but this wasn’t your average eatery.

It was the Savin Rock Homework Diner, a pilot program that launched at the school this week and will continue for two more Mondays this month. First-graders and their parents or guardians were served a dinner at Savin Rock before tackling some reading and writing work with help from teachers and the reading department.

First-grade teacher Shannon Goetze got the idea for the program after seeing a news report last year about a similar initiative in New Mexico.

“A school in New Mexico was using it as an opportunity to get parents involved, something that I hope happens for the first grades at Savin Rock. The Homework Diner encourages families to come in and build a relationship with their child's teacher and the school,” Goetze said. “Teachers were available to answer questions that the parents might have, along with showing parents resources to help support their child's learning.  My goal was to build the relationships between our families and Savin Rock to ensure our students’ success.”

Teachers gave a brief presentation at the gathering, outlining ways parents can help their children improve reading skills, such as using flashcards to learn new words and build sentences and writing words on a whiteboard. All students in attendance received a practice booklet, a hard cover book, a pencil case containing pencils and erasers, and a small white board with dry-erase markers to set up a homework station at home.

“We’re hoping the Homework Diner gets more popular here and that other schools want to have it too,” said Stefania Larry, who oversees early childhood learning in the district.

The second Homework Diner night this month will focus on math and the third will again concentrate on reading.

Goetze hopes more Homework Diner sessions can be held this spring and that it can expand to other grades. She said that as a mom, she knows how hectic parents’ schedules can be and feels providing a meal with the program takes away some of the stress of having to make dinner and rush to get to a school event.

Teachers heard positive feedback from parents and teachers who came to the “diner.”

“The families that came were very engaged in the literacy activities. They worked with the teachers and accomplished assigned homework, along with spending time reading with their children,” Goetze added. “For me, I enjoyed getting to know the families that came, working with the students, and getting to know them outside the classroom.  The conversations at dinner were priceless.”

Contact: Communications Director Susan Misur, 203-937-4300 X7114; susan.misur@whschools.org

Upcoming Homework Diner sessions:
Oct. 20: Learn about math strategies
Oct. 27: Learn about reading strategies

Dinner is from 5:30-6 p.m., and homework time is from 6-7 p.m.