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A group of Red Pump Elementary School Kindergartners and parent volunteers talk about the large pumpkin in front of them as they participate in the Pumpkin Investigation Learn with Me lesson at Red Pump Elementary School on Oct. 31. Learn With Me events are designed for families to become part of the teaching and learning experience, school officials said, and will replace the traditional visitation during American Education Week this year.
A group of Red Pump Elementary School Kindergartners and parent volunteers talk about the large pumpkin in front of them as they participate in the Pumpkin Investigation Learn with Me lesson at Red Pump Elementary School on Oct. 31. Learn With Me events are designed for families to become part of the teaching and learning experience, school officials said, and will replace the traditional visitation during American Education Week this year. (Matt Button / The Aegis/Baltimore Sun Media)

During American Education Week next week, Harford schools won’t have the “open classrooms” they usually do.

Instead, Harford County Public Schools will offer events for parents after school hours next week and opportunities throughout the year for parents, guardians and other relatives to observe their students during class as part of the new “Learn With Me” initiative.

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“There are so many things rolling out under the topic of Parent Academy,” Superintendent Sean Bulson said at the school board’s last meeting Nov. 4. “It’s really important for us to engage with folks but also be able to educate them on some things to help parents be able to find more success for their students in our schools and the best we can do to offer that support.”

Throughout the school year, “Learn With Me” events will replace the traditional visitation during American Education Week, which is Nov. 18 to 22, according to Jillian Lader, manager of communications for the school system.

“Learn With Me opportunities will focus on one grade level at a school and are designed for families to become part of the teaching and learning experience,” Lader said. “Through these experiences, students and staff get to showcase what the learning process in the classroom is like ... It’s a way to highlight the great work done by our teachers and the amazing accomplishments of our students."

Parents and guardians are invited to be part of the lesson to see the learning process in the classroom.

Visitation at various grade levels and schools began earlier this year. Students at Deerfield Elementary showed off their writing and math skills, William Paca/Old Post Road students worked on spelling and at Red Pump Elementary, students explored a pumpkin, as a few examples, Lader said.

Heather Krout spent time in the classroom with her daughter, Livvy, who’s in kindergarten at Red Pump as they examined the pumpkins.

“I’m really enjoying it more than American Education Week,” Krout said of the Learn with Me opportunities. “In the past you sit and observe and I feel like this is more hands-on observing — I enjoyed participating in the activities.”

Each school determines when each grade level will open its classrooms and, like American Education Week, parents, guardians and other relatives are invited to attend.

Feedback provided by administrators and teaching staff has been positive so far, Lader said.

In lieu of American Education Week visitation, Harford County Public Schools is also hosting workshops Monday through Thursday next week. They include:

  • 8 Things You Can Do to Help Your Child Succeed in Elementary School (and beyond!), 5 to 6 p.m., at the Bel Air Library on Monday, Edgewood Library on Tuesday, Jarrettsville Library on Wednesday and Havre de Grace Elementary on Thursday.
  • Sail Don’t Sink: A Guide to Navigating the Waters of College and Career Planning, 6 to 8:30 p.m. Monday at North Harford High School.
  • Parent Academy Real Talk: 2019 Teacher of the Year finalists discuss topics for supporting your students at home, available on the Parent Academy Facebook page and www.hcps.org.
  • Parent advocacy workshop, 6 to 8 p.m. Wednesday at Aberdeen Middle.
  • Superintendent’s budget community forum, 6:30 to 8 p.m., C. Milton Wright High. A second budget forum is scheduled for Nov. 25, 6:30 to 8 p.m. at Joppatowne High School.

“The Parent Academy events the week of Nov. 18 allow us to come together as an education community to enrich the long-term education of our students,” Lader said.

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