HEFLIN — The annual parental engagement night Thursday at Cleburne County Middle School found parents meeting with school officials as children were confined to classrooms and had to solve puzzles and riddles to “escape” from them.
The theme of the evening was “Escape into Education,” according to school counselor Jennifer Swafford.
“Tonight we have our annual Title I parent engagement meeting, that’s when we invite all of the our middle school parents to come to the middle school and we explain our Title I budget and our Title I plan,” Swafford said.
According to Swafford CCMS has a large percentage of students who live below the poverty level and receive free or reduced lunches.
“To make it an even playing field for students the federal government supplements money into here so that we can even that playing field, make sure everybody has computers, access to technology, because if you live below the poverty level you many not have access to that at home so we want school to be where everyone has all that they need to be successful,” Swafford said.
The Title I program brings that money into schools. Swafford said that the parents decide 1 percent of the total budget of what is spent on the students.
While the parents met in the library with school officials the kids were locked in grade-level escape rooms and had 30 minutes to “escape.”
For sixth-grader Sharlene Honsinger,11, and her pal Audrey Norton, 11, the escape room was a challenge they were ready for.
“It is awesome, and I’ve never actually been to an escape room before so I don’t know how it’s going to be but it sounds like fun,” Honsinger said.
Whoever won the escape room challenge Thursday night received tickets to the Escape Zone in Oxford, an interactive live escape room venue.
The kids locked in sixth-grade teacher Astin Sarrell’s room participated in a newspaper challenge. The kids had to read a newspaper called The Fairytale County Scoop and had to answer questions like, “Why does Jack continue to steal from the giant?” The answers were then morphed into another riddle the kids had to solve to escape.
Sixth-grader Emma Martin, 11, and her group worked feverishly on their task and were the first to finish.
“It was pretty cool, it was pretty fun, we had to read this little newspaper and then we had to answer a bunch of questions and solve our riddle,” Martin said.
Carrie Adams brought her son Nate, 11, to the middle school.
“So the kids have been entertained by the Escape Zone from Oxford, they had a big time, the parents, we met in the library and were informed about all the different projects, Title I and ICU, all the different programs that the middle school is doing to keep parents involved and informed,” Adams said.
According to Adams, ICU is school program in which the letters represent the same phrase as they do in a hospital context: intensive care unit. The program is a support system for students who miss an assignment or make a poor grade and are given an opportunity to make it up.