At a Glance
To thank parents for their support and to strengthen school-to-parent communication, Somerset County Technology Center (SCTC) hosts a parent appreciation dinner.
SCTC replaced its Fall Open House with a parent appreciation dinner known as PASTA Night. PASTA is an acronym: Parents Appreciated by Students, Teachers, and Administrators. Because SCTC has 16 high school programs, the dinner is held on two nights to accommodate the potential number of attendees. Each student may invite two guests to the event.
For PASTA Night, Culinary Arts students prepare a meal of spaghetti and meatballs, which faculty and students serve to the parents. Italian music is played in the background as parents enjoy their meal and watch a PowerPoint display of student work. The administration welcomes the guests and, after dinner, students may take their family members to their program areas to show them what they are learning.
Origin / Implementation
In Fall 2015, SCTC administrators implemented PASTA Night to reach a greater number of families than those reached by the traditional Open House SCTC usually hosted. (While at the May 2015 Spring TAP Assistant Administrator Conference, Principal Lynn Clement had heard of a similar dinner done by Technical College High School and brought the idea back to SCTC.)
By bringing families in to SCTC, administrators and faculty view PASTA Night as an effective way to connect instructors with students’ families, to build and continue open lines of positive communication, and to highlight the ways in which CTE provides students with meaningful learning opportunities. They also use the event to thank parents for supporting SCTC and choosing to make CTE a part of their child’s high school journey.
To promote PASTA Night, Mrs. Clement visited each program dressed as a chef and explained the event. Students also were given flyers to take home and then return with RSVP information. SCTC is considering mailing the parent flyer home with the August Welcome mailer to reach more parents/guardians.
Results / Impact
Before PASTA Night, Open House drew about 100 attendees, and only about 10 percent were current students and parents. Open House was mostly drawing recent graduates who returned to visit staff. By contrast, the 2015 PASTA Night drew a total of 262 people over the course of two evenings.
SCTC plans to continue hosting PASTA Night each fall.