Engaging Families for Student Success

This Is How We Do It: Family Learning and TTP

April 11, 2014

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Turning the Page talks a lot about “family learning.” The idea is at the heart of all TTP programs, from parent workshops to summer field trips.

But what exactly does that mean? On a cold February evening, TTP was thrilled to bring over 150 middle school students and parents to the Q?rius (pronounced “curious”) exhibit at the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History. The result was a terrific example of TTP’s  vision of family learning.

After arriving at the Museum in three packed-to-capacity school buses, students and parents completed educational scavenger hunts guided by Smithsonian scientists. These scientists also shared their own stories, from their earliest memories of being inspired by science to their educational and career trajectories. Research has found that opportunities to meet professionals working in STEM-related careers positively impacts the likeliness that students will consider pursuing careers in a STEM field. Echoing this consideration, one TTP mother explained why she chose to attend the Qrius event: “I think it’s important for my daughter to meet females who have built careers for themselves by being smart. This was a chance for her to do that.”

TTP’s partnership with the Natural History Museum staff began last July during a conversation between TTP Partnership Managers (Ellie Canter and Kori Johnson) and the Q?rius museum staff. Ellie explained, “We wanted to hold an event at the Museum as a way for our families to gain the direct experience with artifacts, scientists, and learning tools that could spark their interest in the possibilities that exist beyond the classroom.” According to Gale Famisan Robertson, the Museum’s Manager of School and Youth Programs, the Q?rius staff was excited about a partnership with TTP because it would offer a new opportunity to reach local audiences.

Turning the Page has facilitated countless family learning experiences through the years, but this event was particularly special and noteworthy, as so many middle school parents and teachers were able to collaborate directly with scientists to inspire DC public school students and demonstrate what students can achieve.



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