As educators, we can contribute to the development of a new leadership of networks, preparing our students to participate in our world of interconnectedness by modeling this type of leadership within a school, engaging with parents and communities to discover and apply this wisdom to our teaching. Parents have critical information about their children’s strengths, assets and needs that helps teachers make better informed instructional decisions. It's all about making connections. But this negates the interconnectedness of life and fails to see schools as an integral part of their communities. The authors offer such insights in the hope that educators and community individuals will work together more effectively if they understand and respect the assets and talents that each brings to the goal of improving student learning. Many are unemployed (72 percent of students live in a household without gainful employment). It should then write and implement a one-year action plan, with activities carefully linked to their goals, monitoring outcomes and continually adjusting the plan as needed. In addition, when families know about and encourag… Parent involvement in family-school partnerships is widely acknowledged as supporting children's schooling outcomes. Leadership and the New Science: Discovering Order in a Chaotic World Revised (San Francisco: Beret-Koehler Publishers, Inc., 2006). The school is open from 2:15pm to 6pm and offers a hot dinner, tutoring and mentoring, enrichment, parent and family engagement activities, and more. The West Virginia state legislature has passed an "innovation zone" bill that allows McDowell County to participate in a teacher-in-residence program with a local university, allowing promising young talent to enter the teaching workforce. Ask educators why they entered this profession and most will say they want to improve the lives of their students, to make a difference or to be involved in something meaningful. Benefits of Community Involvement: Advocacy Training Programs for Middle and High Schoolers Posted on November 28, 2017 We’ve written more than once about the importance of community involvement and parent engagement in schools for student success. ], Our Story – Transforming Education by Putting Children First, Donate to Support Education During COVID-19 Crisis, Courage to Connect: A Quality Schools Action Framework, Policy, Advocacy and Community Engagement, Policy, Advocacy and Community Engagement Home, A Comprehensive Equity Approach to Addressing COVID-19’s Impact on Schools, Ending Harmful Discipline to Create Safer Schools, Ensuring Excellent Educational Opportunities for English Learners, Ensuring Fair School Funding for All Students, Growing and Sustaining Healthy School Districts, Preparing All Students to Succeed in College, Texas Legislative Education Equity Coalition, Equity Connection Online Community of Practice, VOE Virtual – Webinars for Immigrant Families, José A. Cárdenas School Finance Fellows Program, Evaluation, Research and Needs Assessment Services, Data Services to Inform Teaching & Learning, Evaluation, Research and Needs Assessment, Parent Involvement & Leadership Development, Ventanilla de Orientación Educativa (VOE), The Future of Ideas: The Fate of the Commons in a Connected World, A Quality Schools Action Framework – Framing Systems Change for Student Success, Community Engagement Series for Educators, Leadership and the New Science: Discovering Order in a Chaotic World Revised, Equity Connection - Online Community of Practice, Research Center (Newsletters, Infographics, Publications), Learning Goes On – A COVID-19 Resource for Education. Bogenschutz offers some additional thoughts as to what is necessary to start the work: The bottom line: Family and community engagement is a vital part of a truly successful school. These schools provide volunteers to help parents navigate appointments or locate housing or other emergency needs. Educators first need … Parental support for children 0 to 2: Parent support to learning during the infant and toddler years takes place mostly in the home and includes interacting with and attending to the needs of infants, continuous expressions of affection, and engaging in two-way talk by listening and responding positively to encourage vocabulary expansion and develop language skills. One such district is Vancouver Public Schools, which has established 18 on-site Family-Community Resource Centers (FCRCs), along with two mobile FCRCs, to help students and families address challenges they might be … Our effectiveness as teachers improves when we are willing to enter into a genuine exploration of the students we serve, seeking to understand their context, unique gifts, individual learning styles and what motivates each one best. Research demonstrates that strong relationships between schools, families, and community members can positively affect student achievement and outcomes. One study that analyzed data from the National Education Longitudinal Study found that students who are more civically engaged tend to perform better in school subjects such as reading, history, science and mathematics and are more apt to complete high school. What will be the “critical curriculum” of our future world view? By Karen Morris. This article originally appeared in the April 2010, Permission to reproduce this article is granted provided the article is reprinted in its entirety and proper credit is given to IDRA and the author. COVID-19 Updates: Visit our Learning Goes On site for news and resources for supporting educators, families, policymakers and advocates. But it rarely just happens -- it must be intentionally designed. So under the leadership of the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) and the West Virginia State Board of Education, a public/private partnership was born. (There are many more details on how such teams should work available on the National Network of Partnership Schools' website). By paying attention to both academic and non-academic learning, community schools reach the whole child and encourage the growth and development of a range of reinforcing competencies—social, emotional, physical, and academic. School can become a sense of pride and enjoyment, which makes these students far less likely to miss class. Given the role that family engagement plays in not only academic success, but life success, … Some teachers consider parent engagement in terms of solely fulfilling a mandate. Permission to reproduce this article is granted provided the article is reprinted in its entirety and proper credit is given to IDRA and the author. March 21, 2012 . Robledo Montecel, M. “A Quality Schools Action Framework – Framing Systems Change for Student Success,” IDRA Newsletter (San Antonio, Texas: Intercultural Development Research Association, November-December 2005). Since relationships are different in each context, there is no one solution for all. She suggests those serious about engaging families and communities begin creating an Action Team for Partnerships. Today, there are just 22,000. Fostering Interaction and Community They needed to pass a levy to raise money for improvements, but one hadn't passed in a number of years. Teacher preparation programs also must prepare teachers for effective parent engagement and reinforce the importance of interacting in partnership with parents and communities. Kids benefit even more when parents support learning at home continuously with higher levels of involvement. Again, while these efforts represent steps in the right direction, they cannot take the place of meaningful parent engagement that focuses on planning together for each student’s success. However, the superintendent and other school district leaders must set the vision to value parent engagement. Through effective parent and community engagement, teachers tap into the vast knowledge of parents as a child’s first teachers to better unleash the learning potential of each child. Sadly, we often hear comments that engagement is not important or “we don’t make time for that.”. Community engagement is a vital part of many projects and the benefits are well documented, such as better outcomes for all stakeholders, community ownership and lower project costs but more importantly, decision makers genuinely want to hear ideas and feedback. Given the role that family engagement plays in not only academic success, but life success, that is great news. There are numerous benefits from well-implemented school and community partnership programs. Still other schools unwittingly adopt a social service model of parent engagement. My hope is that these four (4) ideas of how to support parents and community involvement are jumping off points for something bigger and better for your school and community. Over the last 36 years, IDRA has promoted meaningful parent involvement as a necessary component of effective schools and affirms it in our Quality Schools Action Framework, developed by Dr. María “Cuca” Robledo Montecel, IDRA’s president and CEO (2005). 16 3.0. At the high school level, she believes the team must include at least one or two students. The research employed a descriptive survey study design, which is Sometimes, encouraging community involvement entails more than recurring events, big or small, or working with community partners to build education initiatives. School Communities in Broome today, Mr Sidoti said community involvement in schooling was the way forward for rural and remote education. Other school districts may hire parent liaisons to “do that work” instead of focusing on teachers, who may feel ill-prepared or believe parent engagement is beyond their responsibilities. Community involvement is an opportunity to spread awareness of a brand’s presence in a way which also communicates what that company stands for. Many will say they felt a call or vocation to teach. IDRA has designed a new Community Engagement Series for Educators that supports teachers and principals in setting forth their commitment and planning for effective engagement (see box). This requires the skills of listening, conversing and respecting in order to plan together how best to support learning for each child. McDowell County, West Virginia, has ranked last in education in the state for most of the past decade. Ultimately, parent engagement can positively impact how we teach and who we reach, far beyond what we teach. Ultimately, what is essential is that we have the courage and foresight to create the shared vision and set forth our commitment for meaningful parent engagement to support all learners, as an equity and excellence issue in education. While there are many benefits of community service, here are our top five: Community service develops an increased sense of social responsibility – a global view of society and a heart for ‘giving back’ and helping others. Parent involvement in school-based activities seems to have the greatest effect on kids' grades, but home-based parent involvement also plays at least some role. But it is not just educational challenges that the community faces. Share +1. Working in partnership with parents and communities, school districts can weave a web of support for all students to graduate college ready. The project launched in December. By entering into relationships with parents and communities, educators broaden their own growth in their profession. Volunteering is one of the most common and popular ways to encourage community involvement in schools: Connect with community … Even worse, parents are sometimes treated as guests rather than as partners in learning. Have a better understanding of the teacher’s role and the curriculum 4. When we fail to see the contributions of parents in the educational equation, we shortchange both the quality of our instruction and the academic benefits to be accrued for the child. Interact with their children more and are thus more sensitive to their emotional and intellectual needs 2. Effective engagement begins with the recognition that each member of the partnership – teacher and parent – has a unique perspective to offer that can improve learning. In the early 2000s, Cincinnati Public Schools learned that they had the worst school buildings in the nation. Family and community engagement in physical activity means that parents, school staff, out-of-school time providers, and community members are working together to increase opportunities for physical activity before, during, and after the school day to improve the learning, development, and health of children and adolescents. Rodríguez, R.G., and J.C. García, A. Villarreal. School support comes from a variety of places both internally and externally. Some erroneously view parent engagement as “soft,” “fuzzy” or “irrelevant” compared to more technical, structured elements of teaching. In her insightful book, Leadership and the New Science, Margaret Wheatley (2006) speaks about the “invisible fabric of our connectedness” and relational dynamics. By involving themselves at the school and community levels, parents: 1. Community involvement in school has additional benefits. Research shows that an increase in parent involvement in schools directly correlated to a student’s growth and success in school. McDowell has limited medical services, inadequate access to technology, and substantial drug and alcohol abuse. According to Carpini, Cook and Jacobs (2004: 315), this is one of the most common benefits of community participation engagement; the enhancement of the democratic process. Use more positive reinforcement the more they know about developmental stages 5. This kind of interdependence has great potential for sharing knowledge, responsibility and support surrounding each child we teach, ensuring their high school graduation and college success. While the work has just begun, this engagement effort is already showing what can happen when schools and the community commit to working together. According to the Coalition for Community Schools: A community school is both a place and a set of partnerships between the school and other community resources. The West Virginia AFL-CIO has provided funds to help run water lines to a new housing development. According to the recent MetLife Survey of the American Teacher, teachers, parents and students all agree that parent engagement in schools has increased over the past 25 years. "Most of the examples in School Communities focus on Indigenous involvement in schools but community involvement is important for all schools and all students, as other examples show," he said. Likewise, a school system must attend to the process of engaging with parents and strengthen its connections with community, gaining new information on how best to serve their students. nature of community involvement in management of public secondary schools, identify community involvement opportunities, determine the impact of community involvement on the management, identify challenges faced and finally determine possible solutions. Strong, sustained community participation in the management of local schools can enhance transparency and accountability in the education system and promote a sense of ownership, agencyand responsibility for positive change. Taylor was formerly labeled as one of the worst schools in the state, but is now recognized for its "Continuous Improvement," with increased attendance, standardized test scores, and parent involvement, as well as decreased behavioral incidents. Community Connections on Student Achievement') The possible benefits include a higher GPA, better test scores, taking more challenging classes and passing more classes. Rosana G. Rodríguez, Ph.D., is director of Development. When it is present, we should take the time to celebrate it and learn from it. Tweet. Granted, community liaisons do perform an important role that is vital for schools, but they should not replace teacher-parent interaction around student learning. [©2010, IDRA. This implies relationships. By seeking connection with families and the communities that surround our schools, we enter into a dynamic community of learners that can enrich our teaching, our sense of meaningfulness and our effectiveness in engaging students in the classroom. Fax: 210-444-1714, [©2010, IDRA. • by Rosana G. Rodríguez, Ph.D. • IDRA Newsletter • April 2010 •. Staff involvement means school staff and out-of-school time program leaders are physically active with students, provide opportunities for students to be active, and engage in activities in the school that support physical activity. By Anne OBrien. Reconnecting McDowell is a long-term effort to make educational improvements while addressing all of the community's complex problems. Have more confidence in their parenting abilities 3. ], 5815 Callaghan Road, Suite 101 Edutopia® and Lucas Education Research™ are trademarks or registered trademarks of the George Lucas Educational Foundation in the U.S. and other countries. Ultimately, parent engagement can positively impact how we teach and who we reach, far beyond what we teach. Each CLC is different, based on the needs of the community in which the school is located. Through service-learn- Through service-learn- ing, a method of learning that unites course content with community service or volun- Parent engagement can impact a teacher’s sense of belonging and satisfaction with the profession, as well as their persistence in teaching. With increased activity comes a greater sense of responsibility towards the subject and school in general. And they have seen results. Annie Bogenschutz told Celebration attendees about the CLC at her school, Ethel M. Taylor Academy, where 100 percent of students receive free or reduced price lunch. First Book has donated an age-appropriate book for each child in the school system, and Imagination Library is providing books for younger children in the community. However, the survey also noted that parent engagement remains a challenge for many schools. The levy passed, and the Community Learning Centers (CLCs) began. San Antonio, TX 78228, Phone: 210-444-1710 (9) Programmes that improve parents’ confidence and capacity to enrich their children’s early life experiences can have positive effects on chil… IDRA’s new resource can help the principal to uphold and execute this commitment, while each teacher applies this to their classroom teaching and local context. The report also … In some well-intentioned schools, a space is designated where parents can come to meet “if they want to,” but no real outreach to parents occurs. Next year, Taylor will open a school-based health clinic. Provides an opportunity to apply academic learning to real life events. Education is also known to have a tremendous impact on social and economic development. Wheatley, M.J. Community Engagement Series for Educators (San Antonio, Texas: Intercultural Development Research Association, 2010). The area was once a booming coal community, with over 100,000 residents. She says: “In this exquisitely connected world, it’s never a question of ‘critical mass.’ It’s always about critical connections.”. A student without a mentor is like an explorer without a map. Research Methodology Research Design 18 Analytic Strategy 19 4.0. The Importance of Community Involvement in Schools. And everyone agrees that McDowell's children deserve every opportunity for success. Yet those in the community care deeply about it. Louv, R. Mapping the New World of Leadership (New York: Ford Foundation, 2002). Once these students are engaged, we can expect them to become more active in the classroom. Community schools are great examples of how schools can work in partnership with families and the local community. The following strategies are designed to promote your school and gain more community support from a variety of stakeholder groups. Shares 1. To garner community support, they proposed that the renovated schools would serve as centers of the community, remaining open on nights and weekends to provide services. Fundamentally, it recognizes that there is something to be gained in the home-school relationship that is profoundly important to teaching and learning in support of each child. It helps strengthen communities, keeps parents informed, and it supports the teachers. According to the recent MetLife Survey of the American Teacher, teachers, parents and students all agree that parent engagement in schools has increased over the past 25 years. We learn in science that even simple cells live within a system. In particular, consumers want to know that a business hasn’t just come into their midst to exploit them for cash, data, or tax breaks. Before reposting, we update all links and add new resources to the articles. 1–3 School staff can be positive role models for students by being physically active in and out of school. Meaningful engagement is a student-centered relationship, a journey for understanding, growth and change that is focused on how best to support each learner’s exploration and discovery in an interconnected world. That team should include the principal, two-three teachers, two-three family members, and others in the school or community important to the school's work with families (a counselor, social worker, business partner, and so on, depending on the school context). Comments and questions may be directed to her via e-mail at feedback@idra.org. This article originally appeared in the April 2010 IDRA Newsletter by the Intercultural Development Research Association. Parent engagement deepens our understanding of the teaching and learning process and can be an exciting, fruitful journey for educators. 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