AmeriCorps members Nadia and Kelly pose with some students that are passing out passports to prospective parents for the annual open house

AmeriCorps members Nadia and Kelly pose with some students that are passing out “passports” to prospective parents for the annual open house.

In efforts to recruit incoming 6th graders for next year, Grant Beacon went above and beyond during their annual open house. Enrichment classes are part of the school’s new innovation plan and proved to be the deciding factor for many families choosing Grant Beacon. The display of these enrichment programs at the open house proved to prospective students and parents alike that Grant believes in a spirit of innovation, engagement and college preparation.

DESTINATION 1: Welcome to Grant Beacon Middle School!

As students and families walked in, Denver World Music greeted them with jazzy Cuban tunes – a perfect welcome as Denver World Music provides Grant Beacon’s Afro-Cuban Drumming enrichment.  Families were also welcomed by smiling Grant Beacon students, and energetic AmeriCorps members, Kelly and Nadia.  This is where families were given their “passport” – their guide to various rooms and activities to check out.  In addition to the passport, each family was given information about and a list of the enrichment programs offered for students.  They also received a fancy Grant Beacon Middle School pen – a hot commodity at Grant Beacon!  The principal, Mr. Magaña, gave a warm welcome to families in the auditorium, which was interpreted for Spanish-speaking families.

DESTINATION 2: Enrichments!

Families were introduced to the Improv enrichment by the Black Actors Guild, practiced a few moves with the Yoga enrichment provider – Wellness Initiative, and ‘tinkered with tools’ as they learned about one of the innovative STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) enrichments. These were some of the favorite of the night as they were an interactive way of engaging families and future 6th graders in their preview of the school.  One of the most essential stops along the way was the locker opening station where current students offered their tricks of the trade.  After each activity, room presenters “stamped” the passports with a sticker as proof of their adventure through the building.


In the spacious cafeteria, the Tavern, a local restaurant by Washington Park, provided a delicious feast with enough to eat for 400 families.  The menu included spaghetti & meatballs, salad, bread, macaroni & cheese, and an assortment of desserts.  This generous donation from the Tavern sealed the deal for prospective Grant Beacon Middle School Griffins.

The night ran smoothly thanks to careful planning by Grant’s Community Engagement Specialist – Michelle Saab.  Also crucial to the night’s success were several AmeriCorps members and student volunteers.  From the warm welcome into the school, the unique enrichment experience, and delicious food, we accomplished our mission to show the community a little bit about who we are. Measured in the response of our guests at the end, the multitude of 5th grade students had their hearts set on becoming Grant Griffins next year.

–          Nadia Saldana-Spiegle & Kelly Scenna


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