As the summer ends, many workshops, webinars, and virtual conferences are preparing educational leaders, teachers, and parents for the return to school. Our Family Engagement Team has attended several of them.
Here are some of the take-aways:
- We can no longer move forward with families on the sidelines of education. The pandemic brought families into the classrooms as learning went virtual and parents were forced to monitor/assist with their child’s learning. Now that these lines of communication and collaboration between our schools and our families have been opened it is critical that we continue on this path.
- We have spoken for years about the impact of family engagement on students (higher test scores, better attendance, etc.) but we need to mention the impact of family engagement on families as a whole. Dr. Karen Mapp sites the following things that parents experience as a result of being involved on their child’s school campus:
- Their role perception shifts from just a “mom” or “dad” to a “teacher”, “mentor”, or “expert”
- They gain confidence in their ability to shape and influence their child’s learning
- They have an increased sense of accountability and begin to advocate for all children
- They become empowered to take on new challenges– that could include serving on district committees, running for school board, etc.
- Family engagement is not a program but a practice— something that every school, administrator, and teacher needs to embrace so that our children can be the best they can be. Families must be part of the team of experts.
- Families are as vital to student success as school climate and teachers. A 20-year study from schools in Chicago found there are 5 essential supports for successful schools: leadership (administration), professional capacity, parent/community ties, student-centered learning climate, instructional guidance (professional development).
- Social and emotional learning (SEL) is of particular importance this year. SEL has been a huge topic in most of the workshops about returning to school. If you want more information to understand just what SEL entails and how families play a major role in social and emotional learning, watch this five-minute video from the Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning (CASEL).
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