Heritage Middle's Family Fun Night Wins Statewide Award from FDOE

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DELAND – The Florida Department of Education has selected Heritage Middle School’s Family Fun Night as winner of its 2019-20 Family & Community Involvement Award. The statewide award was presented at Tuesday’s meeting of the School Board of Volusia County.

The Family & Community Involvement Award is given for innovative school practices that increase family and community involvement. Programs are evaluated on such factors as their uniqueness and innovation; the ability to be replicated by other schools; family involvement, including in the planning and implementation of the program; and impact on school improvement.

Heritage was selected as this year’s Region III winner for secondary schools. Family Fun Night was created to involve and unite students, families, school faculty and staff, and the community in fun events while also providing much needed resources to students and their families. Hundreds of families attend the event each fall, said Heritage Principal Thomas Vaughn, who accepted the award along with Parent Center Liaison Sonia Pina.

This year’s event is currently on hold due to the coronavirus pandemic. But once the pandemic is over, VCS hopes Family Fun Night can begin at other schools across Volusia. 

Family Fun Night began at Heritage over a decade ago as a simple "carnival" night during Red Ribbon Week designed to promote a drug-free campus and community. But it’s grown to be so much more. The popular event now provides awareness, support and connections between families and 23 community partners who offer expertise and information in areas such as voter registration, free GED and ESOL classes, breast cancer awareness, free fingerprinting services, safety lessons, and more. Vendors provide samples and coupons. Entertainment is provided by a DJ, the school’s chorus, band and dance team, and presentations by the Volusia County Sheriff’s Office.

“It’s an opportunity for the community to be on our campus to interact with our families, faculty, and staff,” Vaughn said. “It’s been very successful. It served as a springboard to our job fair for families, and it’s the realization of the amount of support the community provides our families. The community is always looking for ways to do more.”

Family Fun Night supports the goal of parent involvement in Heritage’s school improvement plan. Vaughn said earning the statewide award was, “Awesome. It’s a worthy recognition of all the hard work that goes into it.”

PHOTO CAPTIONS:

Heritage award: Heritage Middle School Principal Thomas Vaughn and Parent Center Liaison Sonia Pina accept the Florida Department of Education’s Family & Community Involvement Award at Tuesday’s School Board meeting.

Together, We Are Stronger

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