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Sheri L. Fillipi
Covington Elementary School
South Sioux City Community Schools
South Sioux City, Nebraska
Sheri.fillipi@ssccardinals.org

Welcoming non-English speaking parents into the school community and encouraging them to be active participants in the educational lives of their children have been primary accomplishments of Sheri L. Fillipi, principal of Covington Elementary School. As the former district migrant director and an ESL and Special Education expert, Fillipi has steadily raised student achievement through innovative parent inclusion methods in this rural, diverse, high-poverty district. At each of the five schools in which she has served as principal, Fillipi established cultures of collaboration, shared leadership and research-based best practices, all with ELL as a major focus. Recognizing parent involvement as key to student success, Fillipi led an initiative to interview parents and community members by asking what they wanted to learn about schools. After identifying ten areas, including math, reading, social studies, and other subjects, Fillipi worked in partnership with Inclusive Best Practices, Nebraska Migrant Education, and Cable One to develop of an informational video series in four languages. The series aired on the local cable network, inviting families to earn points for home books by completing strategy tasks described in the videos. Numerous community members participated in the project, which became a model for other districts. At Covington, Fillipi has also involved parents through Celebration of Learning assemblies, an at-home reading program, multiple volunteer opportunities, and parent-teacher conferences that now draw an attendance average of 97 percent. “Sheri does an excellent job of including families in the conversation about their child’s learning and letting them know their input is valued,” says a colleague. Fillipi holds a B.A., an M.A., and an Endorsement from Wayne State College.