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Shelby County Schools event helps connect families with educational resources

Sharpe Elementary students participate in a motion lesson from Cindy the Science Lady on Saturday during Shelby County Schools Family and Community Fair at the Salvation Army Kroc Center.
Sharpe Elementary students participate in a motion lesson from Cindy the Science Lady on Saturday during Shelby County Schools Family and Community Fair at the Salvation Army Kroc Center.
Tajuana Cheshier/ Chalkbeat TN

Nearly 100 parents filled the conference center at the Salvation Army Kroc Center for the Shelby County Schools Family and Community Fair on Saturday morning for an opportunity to interact with the district’s community partners in math, social studies and science.

The opening session began with speakers from the district and former NBA player Anfernee “Penny” Hardaway, who spoke about the importance of health and promoted his discount prescription card program.

“Our partners were prepared to talk about what they do and how it relates to the curriculum,” said SCS Manager and Parent Engagement Mary Earheart-Brown.

One of the partners – Cindy “the Science Lady” Uphoff – had a steady stream of students and parents coming to her booth where she conducted a motion experiment.

During the experiment Uphoff asked students to select marbles to roll down an elevated ruler.

Uphoff asked the students to observe how fast the marbles traveled down the rulers into plastic cups positioned at the end of the rulers.

A science educator for many years, Uphoff conducts mobile science labs for various grade levels.

She describes her enthusiasm for math and science as “ice cream with fudge on top.”

“Nothing is better than that!” she said.

Uphoff challenged students from Sharpe Elementary to elevate their rulers and use various size marbles in the experiment.

Sharpe Elementary parent Tiffany Seaton toured the educational booths with her two children.

Sharpe Elementary School officials brought 22 students to the event on Saturday.

Sharpe Elementary’s Emerging Readers, parents and staff attended Saturday’s Family and Community Fair.
Sharpe Elementary’s Emerging Readers, parents and staff attended Saturday’s Family and Community Fair.
Tajuana Cheshier/ Chalkbeat TN

The students are involved the school’s Emerging Readers program and participate in Saturday School from 9 a.m. until 3 p.m. Saturday’s event was a field trip for the group.

“We have a shared goal,” said Stephanie Gatewood, who is Sharpe’s family services specialist. “We need parents to help us.”

Seaton is involved in Sharpe’s Parent, Teacher Organization and acknowledged that it’s hard to have 100 percent parental involvement.

“Parents have to work or go to school and we have a lot of single parents,” Seaton said. “I know I can’t do it all by myself. I want to let the teachers know that I stand behind them.”

Seaton’s daughter is part of the school’s Emerging Readers program.

“She doesn’t like reading,” she said. “I started a year ago pushing her to read 30 to 45 minutes every night before bed.

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