Rock the Block
What is Rock the Block and why did Kegonsa decide to start this program?
Rock the Block is a day that we set aside in late August to visit as many of our Kegonsa students and families that we can. We divide into groups of 5 or 6 staff members, decorate our cars, wear neon yellow Kegonsa shirts and set off together to visit our families. The visits are prearranged so most students are waiting for us when we roll up to their house with our megaphones, jumping out of the car yelling “we are here to Rock your block.”
Lots of people ask us where the idea of Rock the Block came from. Several years ago Mrs. LaPointe, our 5th grade teacher and I were at a national leadership conference in Chicago where we attended an innovative ideas poster session by educators from Jefferson Elementary School in Janesville. They had launched Rock the Block in their school attendance area and it had been really well received by students and families alike. We were inspired and when we contacted them they were thrilled to share their lessons learned and support us through our first year implementation. Now, they are rocking the block throughout the Janesvilled district, something we hope to do here as well!
How does Rock the Block help build relationships between the school and its students/families?
Rock the block is one way to open the doors of communication with our school community. When we are building relationships with our students having one our first “meet and greet” be in our students own space is really magical. As educators we start out as the learners as they introduce us to their home. They get to lead the way. Again, it’s a wonderful way to begin the year as we build new relationships.
Why is that relationship between a school and families important for student success?
Relationships matter. Relationships matter a lot. We want our students and families to see Kegonsa as their school, their home away from home. Our students and our educators spend so many hours together each school year that taking the time to get to know one another and build those trusting relationships is worth every mile traveled. We want everyone that walks through our doors to feel welcomed, to feel heard and seen, and feel like they really belong. Rock the Block is just one way we are working to strengthen our relationships and build that deep sense of belonging.
What has been the response from families/students to Rock the Block since you started it last year?
Overwhelmingly positive! Our students love having their teachers and other educators get to see where they live and meet some of their family. We have met so many of our students’ grown up’s including grandparents and great-grandparents, aunts and uncles, and close family friends. We have met fish, cats, dogs, bunnies, goats and cows too. Oh and the shared stories that are generated in just that 5 minute visit. “Remember Ms. Conrad when you met my rabbit that I rescued. He’s doing so great!”