Garvey Elementary School Promotes Positive Relationships through Superman Ball
28 November 2023
Every member of the Garvey team pitched in to make this event successful.
Ms. Lori Harris knows that there is often a direct correlation between family engagement and academic performance for students. So, this year, she wanted to try something new and organized her school’s first-ever Superman Ball. As the lead coach at Marcus Garvey Elementary School, she’s used to thinking about strategic ways to maximize the school’s resources to improve student outcomes. One of the most important resources is its parents and the other adult members of the school community.
The Superman Ball was designed to be a fun and engaging event that included food, dancing, a photo booth, and a gymnasium decorated to the nines for Garvey’s female students, as well as their dads and other inspirational men in their lives. Every member of the Garvey team pitched in to make the event successful. Teachers helped get the word out, and support staff helped ensure that all the elements came together. The turnout was phenomenal, and Ms. Harris wasn’t too surprised to see the gym filled with more than 100 people.
“I think we saw so many people come out because they understand that their Garvey family cares about them and loves them,” said Ms. Harris. “We want their children to be successful and are ready to partner with them to accomplish that goal.”
Garvey Principal Sabrina Anderson explains that the Superman Ball is this year’s iteration of the school’s Daddy Daughter Dance, which has been an annual tradition at Garvey for nearly a decade. What sets the Superman Ball apart is its commitment to celebrating male figures beyond fathers who positively impact and support the students at Garvey.
Events like this directly connect to the school’s larger identity. Principal Anderson leads under the proverb that it takes a village to raise a child, prioritizing community engagement and involvement whenever she can. She also has an open-door policy where parents can visit her at any time to resolve problems or offer suggestions. Not only does this event highlight Garvey’s commitment to its parents, but it also shows its parents’ commitment to Garvey.
“There can be a negative stereotype that our men aren’t active participants in their children’s education,” said Principal Anderson. “Our dads truly showed up, and we are always going to welcome them.”
Ms. Harris hopes that every student who participated in the Superman Ball created a core memory with someone they can look up to, whether it be their father, a grandfather, a big brother, or another mentor in their life. This certainly was the case for third-grader Theia, who attended the ball with her dad, Mark.
She’s been a student at Garvey since pre-k and has developed into a student who loves both math and reading. She’s currently excelling with division and is reading chapter books—both humorous ones and mysteries. Outside of school, she’s a budding gymnast who especially enjoys learning how to flip. This event was simply the icing on the cake of her school year thus far.
“I love being able to hang out with my friends and spend time with my dad. I like to dance fast with him,” said Theia. “He likes to play games with us and take us out. I know that we will remember having a great time together.”
Ms. Harris would love to see the Superman Ball become a city-wide event where dads and daughters across Chicago can come together for an enjoyable evening. But, for now, she’s taking smaller steps and is continuing to focus on strengthening the culture and relationships at Garvey. There will be a similar event for Garvey’s mothers and sons later this school year.
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