When the pandemic shuttered schools around the world in early 2020, educators and families had a choice: Find a way to connect and communicate or allow education to screech to a halt, with weeks or months -- perhaps even a full year -- of learning lost. In overwhelming numbers, they chose to connect.
While the pandemic has brought tremendous challenges, caring adults are rallying around students and building stronger pipelines of personal communication than ever before. Educators got a literal window into many students’ needs and experiences and complex home lives. At the same time, caregivers pushed themselves to really know what and how their children are learning. Family engagement has become critical. Schools and families are learning how to work together as a community with a common understanding of the purpose of education.
A recent study by The Brookings Institution found that schools with strong family engagement are 10 times more likely to improve student learning outcomes. With this in mind, Avonworth School District is increasing their attention to family and school engagement and looking for support, best practices and ideas on how to encourage and harness family engagement to create a better tomorrow for students.
The “Parents as Allies” initiative is built on the very premise of creating the strongest support system for students. Avonworth School District is working with Kidsburgh, along with national and international organizations including, The Brookings Institution, HundrED and IDEO. The project began with a human-centered design process for a parent-led team. A foundation of understanding and empathy was built through this process and Avonworth created this summary board of “hacks” to increase family-school engagement in the district.
Through this process, Avonworth is launching a “Hi Neighbor!” series for families to learn about the different cultures celebrated in the homes of our school district. The first of this series was hosted on Wednesday, December 8. At this event, families had the opportunity to engage and learn about about Ramadan, Day of the Dead and Lunar New Year.
Thank you to everyone who attended our first "Hi Neighbor!" event. We look forward to connecting more soon!