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JES Passport to Learning

Photo of JES' Passport to Learning Jones Elementary (JES) recently held a multifaceted “Passport to Learning” event that featured curriculum, books, and recognition of Hispanic Heritage.

“In the past, we held different events on separate nights. This is the first year we are holding everything on one night,” JES Principal Ashley Kinney said. “Our families have children in different grades and we wanted to respect their time and the time of our staff.”

As families entered the school they were given passports to get stamped as they visited a variety of stations. In the gym, parents visited their children’s teachers and learned about expectations for each subject and grade level. In the library, families visited the book fair to browse and/or purchase books that develop an interest in literacy at home. At each station, families collected stamps to full their passport in order to enter the cafeteria where they celebrated Hispanic Heritage by taste testing cultural foods.

JES parents volunteered to bring and share dishes representing Hispanic culture. Over 40 families signed up to bring one or more dishes. Families provided candy, dulce de fruta and leche, champurrado, arroz con leche, enchiladas, tamales, empanadas, and rice from Mexico, Honduras, Columbia, and other countries.

“At Jones, over 50 percent of our student population is Hispanic,” Thomasina DeSouza said. “We felt that this month was a great way to allow our students to see how much their culture and families are appreciated at Jones.”

In addition to the taste testing, JES celebrated Hispanic Heritage by decorating the halls of the schools to attract the curiosity of students and start conversations. Staff members also provided common items of Hispanic culture to decorate the entrance of JES. Additionally, they posted flags and images of historical figures for students to see as they walked the school’s halls.

“We wanted kids to talk about something outside of what they already know.” Teacher Felicia Ervin said. “This is something new, something different that has been a great conversation starter with students.”

JES “Passport to Learning” was a huge success. The school was filled with families and smiles and laughs could be seen all around.