Community

Marysville School District information fair caters to kids

From left, literacy coach Jamie Anderson leads Allen Creek Elementary student Dominesha Brock in reading exercises during the Marysville School District
From left, literacy coach Jamie Anderson leads Allen Creek Elementary student Dominesha Brock in reading exercises during the Marysville School District's Jan. 29 'Information Fair.'
— image credit: Kirk Boxleitner

MARYSVILLE — Brandie Brock got a head-start on kindergarten this year, but as far as she’s concerned, all she did was spend a Saturday morning reading oversized picture books and making new friends.

Brandie’s father, Stormy Brock, registered her for kindergarten at Allen Creek Elementary during the Marysville School District’s annual “Information Fair” Jan. 29. From 9-11 a.m., 160 kindergarten students were registered for the 2011-12 school year in the Totem Middle School cafeteria, which accommodated an estimated 400 attendees during those two hours.

“She just loves meeting all these new people,” Stormy Brock said of Brandie. “This is the first time I’ve registered any of my kids for kindergarten here, and it’s so awesome. Not only are the kids getting together, but so are the families. I’ve gotten to meet teachers and other parents from her school, and to plan for the next year. I’ve been getting a lot of information since I’ve been here, which is good because I need a lot,” he laughed.

Michelle Gurnee helped start the information fair and kindergarten registration event half a dozen years ago at Marshall Elementary, where she still serves as principal, but she was quick to share credit for the continuation of the event with the rest of the school district and its community partners. Gurnee gave special thanks to Marysville Getchell High School Principal Tracy Suchan Toothaker, whom she credited with helping her start the event, and Sybil Martin, administrative assistant to the school district’s superintendent, whom she lauded for coordinating the event this year.

“Sybil has really taken the reins on this,” said Gurnee, who recalled when the event was limited to Marshall Elementary and the Early Childhood Education and Assistance Program. “I’m really happy with how many community organizations have been brought into this, from the Marysville Library and YMCA to the area Boys & Girls Clubs.”

Gurnee noted that school staff and district members join these community groups in answering questions and providing information about programs and resources available to students and parents alike.

“How often do you have a chance to talk with this many district cabinet members at once?” Gurnee asked.

Martin oversaw the registration process, which included translators to assist parents in completing their paperwork.

“We’ve tried to make it as self-explanatory as possible, so that everyone can come in and know where to get their information,” Martin said. “We’ve got everything lined out all nice, with about 70 school district staff members and community volunteers ready to explain whatever people need to know. It takes a lot of people to put on an event like this.”

Among those who helped give parents and students some previews of what they could expect for kindergarten were math coaches, who engaged children in math games in one carpeted corner of the cafeteria, and literacy coaches, who guided children through reading colorful storybooks in another carpeted corner. Not only did the kids get to interact with staff members from their schools, but they also practiced their literacy and math skills through child’s play.

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