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Fort Greene Goes Beyond Z(umba) for Our Families

Each year, Success Academy celebrates Family Appreciation Week in March. It’s a chance for school staff to thank our families for supporting our schools.

As the new office coordinator at Success Academy Fort Greene, I was thrilled when I was asked to plan this year’s event. It was an opportunity to help our families feel like valued members of the SA community.

Besides planning a breakfast, I wanted to do something a little more unusual — and the idea turned out to be right under my nose.

Besides planning a breakfast, I wanted to do something a little more unusual — and the idea turned out to be right under my nose.

Since January, SA Fort Greene has offered fitness classes for staff at the school. I knew that many of our teachers planned their day around these classes, wrapping up work by 5 so they could take Pilates, strength training, or yoga classes, depending on the week. I also knew that lead teacher Rachel Breceda was qualified to teach Zumba, a fitness program based on Latin dance. I thought: Why not offer an exercise class to parents, too?

When I asked Business Operations Manager Chelsea Mancini if we could call on our staff to offer a fitness class to our families, I received a resounding “yes!” The Zumba class was born.

After recruiting Ms. Breceda as our fitness instructor, we advertised the event with phone calls and flyers, which generated plenty of buzz. Nearly a dozen parents joined us, filling the school dance studio with laughter as they did a fast-paced Zumba workout — swaying their hips and moving their feet to hip-hop mixes — and then relaxed with a cooldown session before heading home.

Later that week, the parents were still talking about how much fun they’d had. It was very gratifying! Mr. Holder, grandfather of one of our kindergarten scholars, attended Zumba with his daughter, Ms. Holder. They both had lots of fun — though Ms. Holder teased him for not following the moves as instructed. Kindergarten parent Ms. Wildman, who works out regularly, complimented Ms. Breceda’s skills as an instructor.

For me, the event was a reminder of what can be accomplished with a little bit of teamwork and some outside-the-box thinking. To see for yourself how much fun our parents had during Zumba, watch this video.

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