Earlier this week, the district shared information about a new parent involvement program called F.A.S.T. It stands for Families & Students Together. Parents and guardians of Mineral Point School students are encouraged to sign up for this opportunity.

This program was offered at my last school where I was the principal. In my experience observing and participating in F.A.S.T., I discovered why it is an effective way to build connections and relationships with families.

  • Families networked with other families.

A lot of time spent during these evenings was devoted to families getting to know other families. Parents and students learned about each other and formed important relationships. Participants felt more comfortable reaching out to others for a variety of reasons.

  • Parents got a chance to reset their relationships with their children.

I appreciated how the F.A.S.T. program created experiences that helped parents better define their roles with their children. A popular activity was dinner. One family is in charge of making the meal for the other families in the group. The kids were expected to serve the meal to their parents. This is an empowering experience for both the children and the families.

  • Families had a chance to discuss parenting strategies.

As a parent myself, I appreciate any opportunity to learn how to be a better father. It’s rewarding being a dad but hard work, and the work is not never done. In F.A.S.T., families can share what is working and what is not regarding discipline, home rules, and language that fosters trust between parent and child. During this time, the kids are engaged in supervised play so parents can talk candidly with each other.

  • Families feel more connected to school.

I realize it can be intimidating at times to schedule a meeting with a teacher or the principal regarding a parent’s son or daughter. F.A.S.T. can provide families with tools and strategies for better engaging in their child(ren)’s school experience and being a positive advocate for them.

If you are on the fence regarding whether or not to sign up for F.A.S.T., I am confident that a choice to participate in this eight week program would be rewarding. If you have any questions about this free opportunity for Mineral Point School families, I am happy to speak with you.

MATT RENWICK

PRINCIPAL, ELEMENTARY SCHOOL

This is Matt’s eighteenth year in public education. He started as a 5th and 6th grade teacher in a country school outside of Wisconsin Rapids, WI. After seven years of teaching, Matt served as an assistant principal, athletic director, and building principal all in Wisconsin Rapids. As an elementary principal with the Mineral Point Unified School District, he enjoys working with students, staff, and families in their collective pursuit of lifelong learning.