Promoting Connections Between Generations

The WDMCS third grade classes visit metro area retirement communities, where students read to the residents. Students prepare by selecting their favorite picture books, reading out loud to peers, and writing interview questions. During their visit, students are paired with a senior and they spend an hour reading and getting to know one another.  The Read to Me program promotes connections between generations, and gives both students and seniors an opportunity to grow and learn.




Meet Intercultural Outreach Coordinator Jeanna Bauer

Photo of Jeanna Bauer, WDMCS Community Education Intercultural Outreach Coordinator.Please join WDMCS Community Education as we welcome Jeanna Bauer, the newest member of the Community Education team. She is the first person to fill the newly created Intercultural Outreach Coordinator position.

As the Intercultural Outreach Coordinator, Jeanna will partner with Community Education departments to identify programming needs and facilitate programs that are accessible and relevant to multicultural and historically underserved populations in our district community. She will also work to introduce our community to its new and unknown neighbors through cultural awareness opportunities. Her favorite part of her new position is being part of Community Education’s commitment to inclusion, welcoming, and accessibility.

Before joining the WDMCS Community Education team, Jeanna worked with refugee communities developing programming for ethnic community-based organizations in the Midwest and international non-governmental organizations. A cultural exchange experience in Rwanda and Tanzania inspired her to connect with and assist the world’s most vulnerable populations. Her work has taken her to 12 countries, including time spent living in Thailand and Egypt. She enjoys going for coffee with friends, reading, and recreating foods she enjoyed during her travels.

For more Community Ed. Highlights, stay up-to-date with the WDMCS Community Education blog!

Monthly Motivation: Make a Friend Day

ced_blog_MakeaFriendFeb. 11 is National Make a Friend Day. Friends are such an important part of our lives. They support us and make us laugh and lend a helping hand when we need it. Celebrate National Make a Friend Day by sharing these quotes about friendship on social media using #NationalMakeaFriendDay, and of course, by making a new friend.



“The only way to have a friend is to be one.” — Ralph Waldo Emerson

“A friend is one that knows you as you are, understands where you have been, accepts what you have become, and still, gently allows you to grow.” — William Shakespeare

“Walking with a friend in the dark is better than walking alone in the light.” — Helen Keller

“My best friend is the one who brings out the best in me.” — Henry Ford

“A friend may be waiting behind a stranger’s face.” — Maya Angelou

Monthly Motivation: Family Literacy Month


(Image source: National Center for Families Learning)

November is Family Literacy Month, and we wanted to help all the families in our community get motivated to read and learn together.

Family Literacy Month is organized by the National Center for Families Learning, which defines family literacy as two or more generations in one family actively learning together. It is a time to “lift up and celebrate the tireless efforts of family literacy and family-focused programs.” The Center offers several resources for families who want to learn about something new together, from healthy habits to fun facts. They also provide “30 Days of Family Learning,” a guide to celebrating the month with different activities each day. Activities include puppet shows, group storytelling, art projects, and a mystery dinner.

For more ideas, visit online resource partnership ReadWriteThink. ReadWriteThink encourages families to expand their bedtime reading repertoire by having parents and grandparents share their favorite childhood book with children in their family.

Let us know how you are celebrating and learning together this month!


Monthly Motivation: Happy Handwashing Day!

GlobalHandwashingDay2015Happy Global Handwashing Day! Global Handwashing Day is celebrated annually on Oct. 15. The first Global Handwashing Day was held in 2008, when over 120 million children around the world washed their hands with soap in more than 70 countries. This year’s theme is Raise a Hand for Hygiene, and events are being held in countries all over the world including Argentina, Kenya, and Pakistan.

The day serves to increase awareness and understanding of the importance of washing your hands with soap (that’s the extra important part). Handwashing with soap is an fast, inexpensive way to prevent disease and save lives. The day is used to design, test, and replicate creative ways to encourage with-soap handwashing!

To make handwashing a little more exciting, you can watch this TED Talk video from Joe Smith, lawyer and “powerful advocate for proper paper towel use,” He teaches viewers how to end up with completely dry hands without overusing paper towels.

CE Value: Respect — Firefighters and Fire Prevention Week

For the new CE Value blog posts, WDMCS Community Education will share news about our six values: people focus, respect, relevance, enrichment, fun, and team unity. This month, we wanted to highlight respect.

It is Fire Prevention Week, from Oct. 4-10 this year. The theme this year is,“Hear the Beep Where You Sleep. Every Bedroom Needs a Working Smoke Alarm.” According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), working smoke alarms cut the chance of dying in a fire in half.

In case of a fire, children need to know they can trust firefighters. Some children may find firefighters and their equipment intimidating, so it is important to remind them that firefighters are community helpers. Young children may benefit from this NFPA lesson, and these videos featuring Sparky the Fire Dog.

Firefighters have visited WDMCS schools to talk about fire safety and what to do in an emergency. In other places in the country, they have spent the summer fighting wildfires. Teach your children about fire safety and and all the great things firefighters do this week!

CE Question: What’s the most important manner?

knife-and-forkA quick search on the Internet or a chat with friends and family will reveal one thing about etiquette today: It is changing. While being polite is just as important as ever, “polite” means different things to different people. Social rules are evolving at warp speed, thanks to social media and our ever-changing culture. With that in mind, this month’s CE Question is two-fold: 1. What is the “manner” you remember most from your childhood? and 2. Is it one you will pass on to your kids?

Let us know on Facebook and Twitter! We’re ready for an etiquette lesson.

Monthly Motivation: National Preparedness Month

NPM15_logo_v6Final-nationalSeptember is National Preparedness Month, a month dedicated to planning for disasters and emergencies. This year, The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) are asking people to make a plan now, for anything that might happen in the future. They suggest making plans with your community, your family, and for your pets. Plans can include what to do, how to stay safe, and how to communicate during a crisis. The months ends with National PrepareAthon! Day, on September 30. 

The Ready campaign offers resources like plans and plan templates, hazard education, and supplies and documents for families that want to participate in preparedness activities. Explore their website to find out more about getting ready and National Preparedness Month.

Rec’s and Reviews: Back-to-School Books

With school starting back up, we decided it was a good time to recommend some fun back-to-school books! Check out our nine picks below, or print out this PDF and take it to your local library or school media center.

Books are for various age groups. Many of these titles deal with being nervous about school and have vibrant illustrations. We always recommend that parents preview books before reading them with their children.

These titles deal with various emotions about starting school, and many have vibrant illustrations. We always recommend that parents preview books before reading them with their children.


CE Question: What’s your favorite first day of school memory?


The first day of school looks different than it used to, but some things will always be the same: excited students, welcoming teachers, and tons of school supplies. Even though they’re  taken on smartphones now, you still take that first-day-of-school photo (or three), and meeting new classmates will always give you butterflies. So, what’s different, and what has stayed the same?

We’d love to hear your favorite memories of the first day of school! Share them with us on Facebook!