Back-to-school picnics in Hagerstown, Naperville

A picnic for families and faculty alike kicked off the 2015-16 school year at Northern Middle School in Hagerstown, Md., last month, the Herald-Mail reports.

About 600 people were expected to attend the second annual picnic at the middle school. And school officials provided food, games, and information booths.

“We’re hosting it because we wanted to reach out to the community, to bring them in, to have them meet the teachers,” the paper quoted Principal Teri Williamson as saying. “Almost all of the staff is here to meet kids, just so they have a sense of community within a school building.”

Picnics seem to be a great way to break the ice and build communities in our schools.

District 203 in Naperville, Ill., also hosted a back-to-school welcome picnic Saturday, the first in the district, though we hope it will become a common occurrence. It was held at the Naper Settlement, a historic site in the far-west suburban town, and the first 1,000 people to arrive received a free meal.

School officials said the purpose of the event was to connect families new to the district with other families and information on community resources such as Loaves & Fishes Community Services, Western DuPage Special Recreation Association, and Literacy DuPage. The event also included music and children’s activities from the DuPage Children’s Museum, the Lisle and Naperville park districts, and the YMCA.

“We have much to be proud of in our school district,” wrote District 203 Superintendent Dan Bridges. “We are especially proud of our supportive community. Your advocacy for children and your commitment to a high-quality public education results in a spirit of 203 pride that makes our school community amazing.”

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Paul Katula
Paul Katula is the executive editor of the Voxitatis Research Foundation, which publishes this blog. For more information, see the About page.