This summer I attended the VAESP Annual Conference. One of the keynote speakers was Eric Davis, Director of Family and School Partnership in Montgomery County Public Schools in Maryland. He made some interesting statements concerning family engagement. He indicated “Family engagement is an educational strategy to improve academic achievement”. I never really thought of family engagement in this way. I know family engagement is important to our schools but not necessarily as an education strategy. In order to have a successful school community we must have positive home school partnerships.
He communicated the #1 factor for creating successful home school partnership is relationships. As standard practice, we must create a welcoming environment. Parents must feel welcome when they FIRST come in!
Listed below are few simple questions that could make a difference in someone feeling welcomed to your school.
- Does the main office secretary leave their seat to greet a visitor at the counter?
- Does the main office secretary answer the phone 1st or greet the visitor at the counter?
- If a parent shows up unexpectedly do you have someone tell the them you are busy or do you try to schedule an appointment as soon as possible?
Hmmmmmmm. Do we seek innovative ways to create a welcoming environment?