Relationships between families and schools begin long before a child enters school in September. How does a school put their best foot forward as they begin to build relationships with potential students, help families make transitions from one setting to another, or orient families to what they have to offer as a school community? Increasingly, schools are building a presence in their communities through word of mouth as well as through service opportunities that reflect their goals and values within the larger context of the world. Messages families hear in and out of school inform the decisions they make about where to register their child, ultimately at the school they feel best suits the strengths, needs, and interests of their child and family. Continue reading
Not all families feel the same level of comfort talking and communicating with schools. Most can easily and willingly share their children’s strengths, needs, successes, struggles, interests, hopes, and dreams. Many struggle with how to ask questions, what to ask, and how often to ask. Some are uncertain how often to contact the school and when. Yet others wonder how to be active and engaged, without overdoing it.
The reality is that children, youth, and families learn what they live: If they hear and see effective and productive communication, they will strive to communicate confidently, become empowered on the landscape of school, and develop self-advocacy skills that will serve them for a lifetime. Such skills are particularly important as youth transition from secondary to post-secondary. Continue reading
The Spirit of Youth (St. Dominic’s High School, Bracebridge, ON)
Engaging families of youth can often be challenging. Factors such as multiple teachers, increasingly complex homework assignments, out-of-school activities, prior experiences, even the growing independence and autonomy of youth may present a landscape in which families feel out of their comfort zone. School communities, in collaboration with youth and families, can promote family engagement both in and out of school, repositioning all as equally invested in student well-being, academic achievement, and lifelong success. Continue reading