Engaging Families for Student Success

Fun in the Sun: TTP’s Families Explore the D.C. Classroom

August 28, 2015

family plantingOver the past few months, Turning the Page hosted five summer trips at sites across the D.C. community. Families and staff experienced the Smithsonian’s Folklife Festival, gardening at the Common Good City Farm, dancing at the Joy of Motion Dance Studio, sightseeing at Frederick Douglass’s House at Cedar Hill, and our annual boat trip with the Anacostia Watershed Society. Throughout the summer, TTP engaged families from past and present partner schools – successfully reaching the highest summer trip attendance in TTP history! TTP’s summer learning trips are  designed to combat summer learning loss by connecting families to free learning opportunities in their communities and by connecting each trip with complementary books to read at home.

To kick off the summer, Turning the Page families visited the Smithsonian Folklife Festival in June for a free concert   by Afro-Peruvian artist Eva Ayllón. Accompanied by a picnic dinner on the National Mall, families enjoyed each other’s company and danced the night away to traditional Peruvian music.

Our second trip brought families to the Common Good City Farm (CGCF), an urban farm located in the Shaw neighborhood of D.C. With the help of farm volunteers, families toured the grounds and participated in some hands-on farm work, including picking berries, watering plants, and harvesting cucumbers. After Farm Manager Melissa spoke with families about youth programs at CGCF and shared tips and best practices for urban farming, parents picked out fresh produce to take home.

During the third summer trip to Joy of Motion Dance Studio, Mia, a dance instructor from the DEA Youth Dance Program led families in a dance combination to Michael Jackson’s Thriller. Grandparents, parents, and children of all ages jumped in and showed off their favorite dance moves through an impromptu soul train. Mia then sparked a freeze dance competition that lasted right up until families headed home.Staff, families, dance instructor

In August, families and TTP staff met at the Frederick Douglass House in Anacostia for an exploration of local  history right in their own backyard. After climbing the 84 steps to Cedar Hill, Douglass’ historic estate, families received a tour of the home and grounds, learned about Douglass’s accomplishments, and enjoyed the amazing views of D.C. from atop the hill.

The TTP community wrapped up the summer trip season with the annual boat trip on the Anacostia River, in partnership with the Anacostia Watershed Society. Over 120 parents and students participated in the event, making it the highest-attended summer trip in TTP history. Families joined TTP at the Bladensburg Waterfront Park for a cruise down the Anacostia River in a pontoon boat and a picnic along the river. Thanks to the expertise and guidance of Captain Chris, parents and students observed wildlife and learned about the animals that make the Anacostia River their home. Once they arrived back on shore, families enjoyed a beautiful and relaxing evening and spent time getting to know one another.Families Boarding 2

We are excited to build off of the momentum from our Summer Learning Trips and hope to carry it into the school year at each of our partner schools. Special thanks to our partners for supporting our exploration of the DC community!

Written by: Jennifer Parisi