As a learning environment, we felt compelled to share our data and create a parent and community deep data dive. We focused on the following 5 Steps to Engage Our Families In Developing Our School Improvement Plan Goals.
Step 1. Invite the Families Into the Process
It sounds so simple, but so many of our parents shared that this is the first time they have ever been invited to a school during the planning stages of the upcoming year. We want our families to be a true partner in the experience at Vero Beach Elementary, so it's vital that they feel valued and a part of decision making. Just by asking them to come to our school through social media and our weekly connect message, we were able to get a cross section of our families to our campus. We advertised the event as a coffee talk and deep data dive and they showed up!
Step 2. Determine the Shared Values
As a principal, it's important for me to listen to what my families want for their child's education. The skills our parents value were shared at our meeting. These attributes are so much deeper than something that can simply be measured by a standardized test. Here are just some of the qualities and skills our families shared that they felt were necessary for their children to be successful in life. This helped us determine our focus to ensure that we are moving in a direction that matches the values our families desire.
Be raw, be real, and be honest. Sharing the true picture of what is taking place isn't always easy. However, the true reality will help create action and get multiple points of view on what can be improved upon. We saw that our parents have incredible insight. We showed them the trends that have been taking place on our campus over the past 5 years, the most recent academic and behavioral data, our projection of our school grade, and a deep look at what should be celebrated out in the community and a look at what should be an opportunity for improvement next year.
Step 5. Share the Story
If you don't share what is going on at your school, someone else will! Take time when you invest in your families and community to share that message. Hopefully by shining light on the collaboration and partnership it will encourage other families to dive in too.
After sharing a message on Twitter, one of our families retweeted it too. We are so lucky to have parents that are so deeply committed to our school!
As a school, we allowed ourselves to be humble and honest about our data. We knew that we needed to bring in our stakeholders to create action. We invited every single parent to come to the school to digest the data with us and come up with our school improvement plan goals TOGETHER.
That's when it really hit us, we can't do this alone. We need our families involved on a much deeper level then we have involved them in the past. We need them to help us understand the barriers they are up against and we need them to understand what it will take on an individual basis to truly turn this school into an environment of innovation. We need our families.
The result was something I can only describe as magical. Our parent partners that came listened to us share our data, helped us problem solve and determine goals for next year, and stayed to hear ways they can support math and literacy at home.