An effective school leader will leverage a variety of strategies to get the entire community to support the school. 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. This article originally appeared in the April 2010 IDRA Newsletter by the Intercultural Development Research Association. 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. 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). Through service-learn- Through service-learn- ing, a method of learning that unites course content with community service or volun- Last weekend, at the Celebration of Teaching and Learning, surrounded by educators, representatives from the nonprofit and business worlds, global education experts, academics, and education advocates of all stripes, I found it inspiring how committed the group as a whole was to not just improving family engagement in schools, but expanding engagement beyond the family, to the community in general. They needed to pass a levy to raise money for improvements, but one hadn't passed in a number of years. By Karen Morris. Consumers want to see that businesses care about more than making money. Positive family engagement should start in early childhood education, and it’s been shown that students’ whose parents help them with homework perform better than their classmates who don’t have at-home reinforcement and support. Build Trust with a Community . 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. The first question asked by the audience after hearing about Cincinnati's CLCs: How do you get started on a family and community engagement initiative? 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. 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. 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. Fostering Interaction and Community Many are unemployed (72 percent of students live in a household without gainful employment). Community Engagement Series for Educators (San Antonio, Texas: Intercultural Development Research Association, 2010). Fax: 210-444-1714, [©2010, IDRA. Yet those in the community care deeply about it. Louv, R. Mapping the New World of Leadership (New York: Ford Foundation, 2002). Sadly, we often hear comments that engagement is not important or “we don’t make time for that.”. 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. Community involvement in school has additional benefits. 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. When it is present, we should take the time to celebrate it and learn from it. Wheatley outlines these applications for professionals leading organizations, such as corporations, non-profit organizations, health care systems and schools. And they have seen results. Parents have critical information about their children’s strengths, assets and needs that helps teachers make better informed instructional decisions. Ultimately, parent engagement can positively impact how we teach and who we reach, far beyond what we teach. 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. 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. Interact with their children more and are thus more sensitive to their emotional and intellectual needs 2. 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. Community involvement is an opportunity to spread awareness of a brand’s presence in a way which also communicates what that company stands for. And everyone agrees that McDowell's children deserve every opportunity for success. 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 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. National Network of Partnership Schools' website. However, the superintendent and other school district leaders must set the vision to value parent engagement. 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. Even worse, parents are sometimes treated as guests rather than as partners in learning. In the early 2000s, Cincinnati Public Schools learned that they had the worst school buildings in the nation. Reconnecting McDowell is a long-term effort to make educational improvements while addressing all of the community's complex problems. [©2010, IDRA. Research Methodology Research Design 18 Analytic Strategy 19 4.0. Have a better understanding of the teacher’s role and the curriculum 4. Leadership and the New Science: Discovering Order in a Chaotic World Revised (San Francisco: Beret-Koehler Publishers, Inc., 2006). However, the survey also noted that parent engagement remains a challenge for many schools. McDowell County, West Virginia, has ranked last in education in the state for most of the past decade. Two featured initiatives in particular seemed to embody it: Reconnecting McDowell and Cincinnati's Community Learning Centers. Granted, community liaisons do perform an important role that is vital for schools, but they should not replace teacher-parent interaction around student learning. 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. Comments and questions may be directed to her via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org. There are numerous benefits from well-implemented school and community partnership programs. Some teachers consider parent engagement in terms of solely fulfilling a mandate. 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. 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. The schools have begun comprehensive breakfast and lunch programs; they are hoping to start a dinner program as well. Kids benefit even more when parents support learning at home continuously with higher levels of involvement. 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 . Although there is less research on the effects of community involvement, it also suggests benefits for schools, families, and students, including improved achievement and behavior.” However you work to increase community involvement, remember that when schools, parents, and communities partner together, great things can happen in the lives of children and young adults. When we as educators recognize that benefits can be accrued by engaging parents and community as partners, we open the door to making our job easier and more transparent, and we enrich the opportunities for children to experience success. 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. No one exists in a vacuum in our interconnected world. Lessig, L. The Future of Ideas: The Fate of the Commons in a Connected World (New York: Vintage Books, 2002). The Importance of Community Involvement in Schools. 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. As an educator, you can help parents by offering parenting workshops, helping their families find needed support programs and government assistance programs, and encouraging them to model pro-education behavior, such as reading to and in front of their children. Research shows that an increase in parent involvement in schools directly correlated to a student’s growth and success in school. The West Virginia AFL-CIO has provided funds to help run water lines to a new housing development. Some erroneously view parent engagement as “soft,” “fuzzy” or “irrelevant” compared to more technical, structured elements of teaching. The seven-part series reflects the Six Goals of Education Equity put forth in IDRA’s South Central Collaborative for Equity. and benefits of community participation in education and have recognized community participation as one of the strategies to improve educational access and quality. 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. Edutopia® and Lucas Education Research™ are trademarks or registered trademarks of the George Lucas Educational Foundation in the U.S. and other countries. Parent and community involvement is an important aspect of K12 education. 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. The first way parents can support their children’s education is by providing a healthy home environment. Topics you'll need to know to pass the quiz include the importance of community involvement in schools and who is at the center of the school and community. Its integrated focus on academics, health and social services, youth and community development and community … Wheatley, M.J. It's all about making connections. On site, students and families can access mental health and dental services. Ultimately, parent engagement can positively impact how we teach and who we reach, far beyond what we teach. McDowell has limited medical services, inadequate access to technology, and substantial drug and alcohol abuse. When schools, families, and community members work together, they form a community partnership, which increases benefits. Researchers also found that community service enhanced students’ problem-solving skills, improved their ability to work within a team and enabled … 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. This requires the skills of listening, conversing and respecting in order to plan together how best to support learning for each child. 2. Shares 1. By Anne OBrien. Volunteering is one of the most common and popular ways to encourage community involvement in schools: Connect with community … 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. These schools provide volunteers to help parents navigate appointments or locate housing or other emergency needs. With increased activity comes a greater sense of responsibility towards the subject and school in general. Educators first need … By involving themselves at the school and community levels, parents: 1. While the work has just begun, this engagement effort is already showing what can happen when schools and the community commit to working together. 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. 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. Increased family engagement in schools is strongly associated with faster rates of literacy acquisition among children, increased rates of going on to secondary education, and decreased rates of school dropout. 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). ], 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. Or two students needs 2 opportunity for success but this negates the of. Benefit when they are hoping to start a dinner program as well and it supports the teachers the school... A variety of strategies to get the entire community to support learning at home continuously with higher levels of.... 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