Orchard Elementary Receives National Award For Connecting Community

Orchard Elementary Receives National Award For Connecting Community

Orchard Elementary is once again in the national spotlight for its efforts to connect community and support student success.

The school was awarded a 2022 Partnership School Award from the National Network of Partnership Schools (NNPS) at Johns Hopkins University. This is the fourth time in six years the school’s Action Team for Partnership (ATP) was applauded by the national network for its work, with the organization specifically praising how the school’s efforts sought to address the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on students.

“The award…is important evidence that your school has continued to develop an inclusive partnership program under unprecedented conditions,” said Joyce L. Epstein, NNPS’ director and a professor of education at Johns Hopkins.

Orchard's parent-teacher organization (PTO) developed a Spring Fling event last spring, and the school's ATP, which is made up of staff, parents and other community members, collaborated with the PTO to support the event.

“The PTO wanted to do something big to help welcome our families back to Orchard so they started planning this event,” says Marta Jisa, a kindergarten teacher at Orchard and chairperson of the school’s ATP. “The event was well attended and many families had fun, some connecting with other families for the very first time.”

The national network’s reviewers praised the event for its collaboration with other school groups and the way it addressed the challenges of the pandemic with outdoor activities to bring all partners in students’ education back together.

“One reviewer gave the application ‘100 points,’ a rare score on the many factors considered on teamwork, family engagement, support from colleagues, your school’s One-Year Action Plan for Partnerships, and program design and development,” Epstein says.