Family & Community Partnerships
At the Center for School Change, we believe that stakeholder engagement is an important contributor to successful outcomes for students and schools. Our work in the area of family and community engagement began early with a focus on parent leadership in education. We have continued to identify the most effective family- and community-engagement practices for school and district leaders as a critical lever for large-scale instructional improvement and equity.
In 2008, following three years of development and piloting, the Center, in partnership with the CT Commission on Children, formally introduced Parents Supporting Educational Excellence (Parents SEE) in nine different Connecticut communities. This 13-session training is focused on growing skills and providing tools and understandings in leadership, partnering, making change, and educational policies and practices for parent leaders. The goal is creating a community of parent leaders working in partnership with school and civic leaders to address the need to change and improve skills so that all children receive a quality education and achieve at high levels. Districts and communities benefit from this strategy of mobilizing political will and active parent engagement and advocacy to ensure sustained improvement in teaching and learning.
In recent years, we have leveraged our expertise and understanding to support school and district leaders in planning and implementing effective, integrated, and sustained family and community engagement efforts that are linked to equity and student learning. Our technical assistance ranges from helping schools and districts articulate a vision for strong, integrated school, family and community partnerships, to providing resources on stakeholder engagement and strategic partnerships. We also oversee family and community needs and data analysis, which includes facilitating district and community committees and planning groups.
I’ve realized that one of the reasons I haven’t been as effective as I might like in impacting school change is that I’m not gaining enough visible public support. I need to get over my fears of speaking out for what I believe in. Also, meeting this group of likeminded parents in the same community makes me feel more hopeful!