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Seedling Mile ‘Academic Night’ brings school family together

Student smiling at the camera

Academics are an integral part of how schools support students and families. For GIPS, it goes deeper. It’s also about meeting the needs of all students and families.


This year, Seedling Mile Elementary held a free Academic Night where families could participate in math and reading games, STEM stations with the Children’s Museum, enjoy a meal, and shop in the new Seedling Style Store.


Principal Jennie Ritter said the Seedling Mile families do so much to support the school, and they ask how to help support their children at home.


This made me begin to think of more ways that we could support student-learning at home,” Ritter said, adding that she thought about the needs families have expressed to her throughout the year. We, of course, want to support our families academically, but our school is more than that,”she added. “We are a family.”


Thus, the 'Seedling Style Store’ was created. 


“I had a vision of being able to pull out racks of new or gently used clothing every time that we held an event, allowing our families to shop for free,” Ritter said.


Families shopping at Seedling Style Store


Donations flowed in after sending out a form asking for the types of items families needed. Ritter brought in clothing racks from her days as a boutique owner, and the new and used clothing donations were sorted and displayed for Academic Night. Additional items ranged from toys and toiletries, to non-perishable food items and shoes. 


On Academic Night, families were able to shop for free and get what they needed. And of course, the shopping experience was tied together with school spirit as there were shopping bags printed with the Seedling Mile Wildcat logo. 


“This has really met a need in our building, and families were so appreciative,” Ritter said. “Now, we have families reaching out to us when they have a need, and we are able to accommodate those needs fairly easily because of the base that we have built up.” 


The Academic Night had so much to offer, in addition to the  Seedling Style Store. Academic Support Coach Michelle Thorne and Mrs. Ritter created math and literacy games, and trained staff on how to teach families to play the games at home. 


“Each family took home a math game and a literacy game along with all of the supplies necessary,” Ritter said. 


STEM games at Seedling Academic Night. Fishing game with magnet.


In addition, Imagination City Children's Museum operated STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) stations. Families were also able to enjoy a lemonade and pizza meal. 


A school is a true community, or as Ritter would say, a family. The Academic Night was a testament to that. 


“Teaching children that giving back is very important to us here at Seedling Mile first hand was great,” Ritter continued, “It was an absolute pleasure for all of us to give back to our students and families. They are so supportive of us and it felt amazing to give back and see the smiles on everyone's faces.”.


Families talking to elementary school teacher.


Ritter said she hopes to see the Seedling Style Store and Academic Night continue in the future, as it was a success.


“Overall, it was just a very rewarding experience for the entire school,” Ritter said.