The fourth quarter of the school year is generally a time of preparation for schools and districts as they finalize next year’s budget, student and teacher schedules, and professional development for the upcoming school year. During this time of preparation, it is important that schools and districts discuss ways that they can support parents and the community in helping students to achieve success.
To aid in this work, the U.S. Department of Education has released a framework for schools and the broader communities they serve to build parent and community engagement. Across the country, less than a quarter of residents are 18 years old or younger, and all of us have a responsibility for helping our schools succeed. The Dual Capacity framework, a process used to teach school and district staff to effectively engage parents and for parents to work successfully with the schools to increase student achievement, provides a model that schools and districts can use to build the type of effective community engagement that will make schools the center of our communities.
An example of how the elements of the framework can lead to improved engagement is exhibited in Baltimore. Baltimore City Public Schools worked to support 12,000 pre-kindergarten and kindergarten homes, and to engage families in home-based literacy practices. Each week students received a different bag filled with award-winning children’s books, exposing children, on average, to more than 100 books per year. The book rotation also includes parent training and information on how to share books effectively to promote children’s early literacy skills and nurture a love of learning. Through the program, families are also connected with their local public and school libraries. At the culmination of the program, children receive a permanent bag to keep and continue the practice of borrowing books and building a lifelong habit of reading.
For more information on the Dual Capacity Framework, as well as an introductory video from Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, please take some time and review the website at www.ed.gov/family-and-community-engagement. In the coming months, ED will provide additional resources and information so that schools, districts, communities, and parents can learn more about family and community engagement as well as share the wonderful work they are doing to build parent, school, and community capacity that supports all students.
For more information, please visit: https://www2.ed.gov/documents/family-community/frameworks-resources.pdf