Family fun

Allgood Elementary School

KENNESAW, Ga. (Dec. 3, 2014) - Several times a year, the Bagwell College of Education hosts “…

Georgia (Dec 3, 2014)

KENNESAW, Ga. (Dec. 3, 2014) - Several times a year, the Bagwell College of Education hosts “family nights” to provide additional support for elementary school students and their parents in Paulding County, and the turnout is as good as for any uptown gala.

“The parents tell me they look forward to these events every year,” said Karen Woodlief, instructional lead teacher at Allgood Elementary School in Dallas. “The perception is when schools have Title I funding, there’s not much parent involvement, but for our most recent ‘Math & Science Night’ we had 403 parents signed in.”

In an attempt to meet the needs of aspiring teachers who live in Paulding County, Kennesaw State University, in partnership with Georgia Highlands College, established a “2+2” program for early childhood education majors. The initiative allows students to complete their undergraduate degree programs at the Paulding Learning Site. Georgia Highlands offers the first two years of coursework, and KSU offers the last two.

As part of their studies, Bagwell College students participate in organizing and running the two community events: “Math & Science Night” in the fall and “Reading Night” in the spring. Last year, Bagwell College hosted 52 outreach events in Paulding County, according to Terri Collins, assistant director for education and educational outreach at the Paulding Site.

“This year, AT&T gave us $4,500 to help with these events,” Collins said. “We are so grateful for this support and will be able to do even more moving forward because of AT&T’s generosity.”

Among the activities at “Math & Science Night” were “brushbots,” robots made out of toothbrushes, catapults, spool racers and kaleidoscopes.

“The reputation of the evening has gotten out, and people know about it and talk about it; it’s a huge success,” Woodlief said. “All the research shows parent involvement increases student achievement, and, in fact, our CRCT science scores were higher last year.”

With its carnival-like atmosphere, even the parents get in on the fun.

“We continue to do this because the parents request it,” Woodlief said. “Some of the feedback we’ve received from parents include, ‘great activities and learning experiences; we enjoyed the event,’ and ‘there were a lot of fun activities for the whole family, and we had a great time.’”

--Jennifer Hafer


A leader in innovative teaching and learning, Kennesaw State University offers undergraduate, graduate and doctoral degrees to its nearly 43,000 students. With 11 colleges on two metro Atlanta campuses, Kennesaw State is a member of the University System of Georgia. The university’s vibrant campus culture, diverse population, strong global ties and entrepreneurial spirit draw students from throughout the country and the world. Kennesaw State is a Carnegie-designated doctoral research institution (R2), placing it among an elite group of only 6 percent of U.S. colleges and universities with an R1 or R2 status. For more information, visit