Parent Connection Day
"It's a focus we have in the month of September," said Principal Jonetta Weaver. "It's really as a result of the fact that we really wanted our families to feel a connection with Shepard."
Each grade level gets a day where parents come and eat lunch with the students. Parents then learn a little bit about what their child is learning.
"We try to give them just a little piece of curriculum, not the whole gamut," Weaver explained.
Weaver said she and other faculty members came up with the idea back in 2001 when parent-teacher conference levels were dropping.
By 2000, the attendance rate dropped to 92 percent, the lowest in years. After parent connection, attendance rose to 98 percent and hasn't fallen under 96 percent since.
The day is different for every grade level.
"The thing that's new about fourth grade is that all of our fourth-graders are issued a handheld or P.D.A. at the beginning of the school year and some of their instructions are with that technology," Weaver said.
Parents have noticed their kids are using such high technology.
"I was a little surprised," said Kane Freeman, a parent of a fourth-grader. "My son's good at breaking things so we try to keep him low tech."
"I thought you know, how lucky, a lot of people I work with are older and use blackberries and handhelds, and they're having to learn how to do this," said Onnalee Burns, also a parent of a fourth-grade student. "My son will already be ahead of the game."
Students showed their parents how the P.D.A.'s work.
"They want to be connected to what their child is learning," Weaver said. "We've evolved as we've learned how this can be successful, but it has always had kind of that flavor so it's been a good process."