“Family Engagement” is one of the latest buzzwords in education. However, events planned by school districts are about more than just fun and games. Research on family engagement and activities supports their students’ and community’s academic and social needs. Furthermore, holding family events can shape the lives of all involved. Therefore, it is a vital component in improving long-term outcomes for our society.
As stakeholders, you have an opportunity to help with family engagement events. We know that Covid took a toll on many things, including the physical relationship with others. Having parents on campus for events such as concerts, learning skills, or even participating in activities with their children were halted or revised. My district is starting to plan upcoming events to bring parents back into the school like never before. We will have our first ever “Literacy Night” in a few months. Here are ways you, as a stakeholder, can encourage similar events.
These events need a planning committee. This committee can be manageable, but it’s a great way to get others involved in the planning process. At the initial meeting, discuss the following ideas. At committee planning meetings, making assignments and having check-ins are crucial.
Family Engagement events need an objective, theme, and target audience. Dreams allow you to have a concrete goal for the event. Then how will you know you have met this goal? Next, what is the theme? This allows the committee to collaborate on a central idea, including giveaways, and presentations, around one concept. Finally, remember to Identify your Target audience. For a literacy night, schools may want to target one grade, several grades, or the entire school. It is important to address the needs of the school’s diverse population. The committee should decide what is best for their intended audience.
Reach out to districts and schools. Let them know you want to help with planning their events. During their planning process, they should have Identified their stakeholders by suggesting ideas to help facilitate the process. This is a critical part of planning an event; you have the opportunity to be the glue for these events! Additionally, stakeholders can share tools or resources families will need. Anything from author visits takeaways will help lighten the load. For our Literacy Night, we will have a bag filled with resources, a bookmark, and a book that encourages reading.
It is important to promote the event. Developing fliers, emails, and social media posts will expand. You, as a stakeholder and community partner, could create template files that are easily accessed. Some schools may consider incentivizing attendance by offering a meal or prizes. Make sure to include all the information in their advertising campaign.
Pulling off the event will take many hands and make light work. Organizing significant events can be stressful, but communities and families need to know we support their children and family. Engaging families in the education process builds relationships and reinforces skills for future learning.
Written by: Teresa Marchant
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