Why Family and Community Engagement?
Ongoing research* shows that family engagement in schools improves student success by strengthening culturally-responsive, home to school relationships that support meaningful participation in a child's education. Students with involved parents or other caregivers, along with a school that welcomes participation, also have better social skills, attend school regularly and show improved behavior (whole child).
Community engagement provides students with the opportunity to become active members of their community and has a lasting, positive impact on society at large. Strong community engagement and partnerships can also provide resources that benefit students and families.
*According to John Hattie, Parental involvement and a stable home/family life have effect sizes of .44 and .52 respectively. This means that a year’s worth of academic growth or more can occur if these two items are in place.
What problem(s) are we trying to solve in Selah by focusing on Family and Community Engagement?
- Gaps in student achievement exist in part due to the district’s inability to engage all families.
- The topics, timing or support being offered does not always reflect the needs (including Maslows) or wishes of our families.
- Being a parent or caregiver in today’s world is difficult, and families may not have the time nor see the value in engaging at school.
- Our families may not feel welcome due to feeling unsure about schooling today, or because of a bad experience they may have had in school or lastly due to a lack of cultural awareness on the part of the district.
What district and school level support, including professional development or instructional materials, are needed to ensure that the Family & Community Engagement pillar is implemented successfully?
- Staff members dedicated to being family liaisons
- Resources (time and money) dedicated to family and community engagement
- Communication platforms and training
- Volunteer databases kept up-to-date and shared regularly
- Translation services
- Training for staff in all things family related (Culturally Responsive Teaching, Trauma-Sensitive Practices, etc.)
Evidenced Based Family and Community Engagement Practices at the Classroom, Building and District Level (examples):
- Regular communication on classroom happenings and student learning (Dojo, Remind)
- Inviting volunteers into classrooms
- Field trips into local businesses or organizations
- Inviting in local business or organizational leaders
- Using culturally responsive teaching approaches
- Positive messages sent home
- Home visits when appropriate
- Consistent communication in a variety of formats and languages
- Have a welcoming office and area designated for families
- Put on family engagement nights (BBQs, book clubs, content specific, talent shows, etc.)
- Provide opportunities to link families with each other, staff and community resources
- Invite families and community members to be involved on committees and in decision making
- Family/parent training events
- Utilize “The Viking Touch” for customer service dealing with families and communities
-Consistent communication in a variety of formats and languages
-Policies/Procedures to promote family and community engagement
-Help provide for families’ basic needs
-Be intentional in hiring practices so that the staff mirrors the make-up of the families and community
-Create partnerships with businesses and community members for mutual benefit
-Partner with community leaders and civic groups on initiatives
-Utilize “The Viking Touch” for customer service dealing with families and communities