The Importance of Family & Community Engagement
Family and community engagement is an essential part of a school's success. Students in Title I schools often face significant challenges at home that affect their ability to learn in school - housing instability, food insecurity and a lack of adult guidance. Effective principals can help bridge the gap, developing innovative strategies to engage parents and guardians in supporting students and involving community organizations to give students the extra encouragement and social supports they need to thrive.
The Fellowship for Family & Community Engagement supports Title I elementary school principals to work on a family and community engagement project of their choosing. The fellowship includes grant funding, coaching and other professional development opportunities to help principals increase their positive impact in schools.
A principal’s strong leadership is vital to school and student success. So too is community engagement, which is a key component of nearly every framework describing comprehensive school reform...The challenges that today’s principals face have led to a vigorous and renewed interest in community-based solutions.
-- Ira Harkavy, Chair, Coalition for Community Schools
Meet the Pilot Fellow
Jennifer Gray is the principal at Don Brewer Elementary School in Arlington. She is working to increase trust between parents and teachers, especially to increase teachers' perceptions of parental support for their work. She feels the relationship between teachers and parents is a mutual partnership and teachers should feel that they can reach out for help to parents and that parents feel respected by the teachers.