2022 Family Expo
When it comes to being in the know about Arlington ISD, Alicia DeVaull is a twofer. She’s a parent of an Arlington ISD student – and she’s a high school administrator.
So when the question of how parents can best support students was tossed to a four-person panel of Bowie High School administrators during Saturday’s Family Expo and Resource Fair held at the Career and Technical Center, DeVaull, a Bowie assistant principal, was uniquely qualified to answer it.
“Create a relationship with that teacher,” DeVaull said. “Most of the time when teachers initiate contact with a parent, something has already happened.”
DeVaull’s suggestion to parents is simple. Meet their child’s counselor, assistant principal and check with their teacher periodically.
Don’t wait until there’s a problem.
“I know my baby better than anyone else,” DeVaull said. “Any teacher that wants to know how to deal with my baby, you will have to ask me.”
“So parents,” DeVaull added while slipping into her administrator role. “Remember that you are one of the three points in this triangle. This relationship is stronger when you are in it.”
The panels and hosts
The panel was just one of a number of workshops. Topics ranged from healthcare and wellness to family fitness and financial literacy. Many of the workshops and resources were available in both English and Spanish.
Hosted by the Arlington ISD Parent and Community Engagement department and sponsored by Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc. Xi Theta Omega Chapter and The Arlington Foundation for Excellence in Education, the Family Expo and Resource Fair offered an assortment of tips, opportunities and available resources.
Exhibitors and organizations like H.O.P.E. Tutoring Center and Arlington Charites, among others, were excited to discuss their offerings.
“This is the perfect opportunity to get the word out about what is offered for families, in one place,” said Angela Aftab of Tarrant County Kids (TCK), an after-school and summer camp program affiliated with Girls, Inc.
TCK Director Lisa Dia said after-school care programs are set in a number of Arlington ISD elementary schools, such as Adams, Little, Corey and Remynse.
“We let parents know that students can have snack time or do homework if they had any. Kids can also or just relax and read a book,” Dia said. “There’s also lots of outside play and activities.”
The Expo’s primary aspiration, said Xi Theta Omega First Vice President Myla Tolbert, is to reshape and transform families by empowering them with the sort of information they need to flourish.
“We had over 500 people register and 50 exhibitors to provide information,” Tolbert said. “We cover everyone, really, from pre-K to elementary, middle school, high school, and then for the parents and families, workshops like managing in a post-COVID world, managing temper tantrums, and college planning 101.”
Happy to be back!
We are back after two years!
“Something like this has to be in person, needs to be in person – that’s why it’s so wonderful to be here,” said Arlington ISD Board of Trustees member Bowie Hogg. “Education is not just about reading, writing and arithmetic. It’s like, what are the things that families need to help them support the best of life? Students come to school with all kinds of issues and needs. This is helping these families understand what these needs are. Our community can help them to make them the best student possible.”
Tamara Gaffney attended the Expo, as she does each year, she said, and as many other Arlington ISD events her schedule allows. Gaffney has a second and seventh-grader at Bryant Elementary and Barnett Junior High, respectively, and is the gifted and talented teacher at Bryant.
“I’m here because it provides such a wealth of information,” said Gaffney, who was interested in Metro Sports Fieldhouse, which offers sports and education camps. “This is not just for my kids at home but my kids at school. I’m always looking to see what’s out there they might enjoy.”
With mental health being front and center, Lisa Cooley-Thomas, an educator, life coach and self-proclaimed “empowermentpreneur,” presided over a stress management workshop, advising students and parents on how to cope with daily events.
“Don’t allow your cup to boil over,” Cooley-Thomas said. In fact, she added, “Don’t let the cup sit empty either. Always be in a self-care mode.”
Takeaways from the expo are building relationships.
“Don’t wait for your child’s teacher to make that move,” DeVaull said. “He or she will have close to 200 kids every day. Teachers remember the parents who come see them.”
Bowie Assistant Principal Brandi Johnson had her own solution.
“Starbucks,” she said, laughing. “That would help me remember anybody.”