By April Hawkins, marketing manager
Reaching Out Beyond the Crisis
Last year at this time, I was the communications director for a school district. As you can imagine, family engagement was one of my main focus points. Before COVID, our district had a great relationship with families. But then, the pandemic hit, and uncertainty began as everyone tried to just make it work. One day in March blew everything up. Suddenly we had to explain to parents why it was necessary to remain in hybrid learning, transition back to distance learning, or switch back to in-person learning. With each transition, a group of parents didn’t agree.
The inconsistent information coming from state, federal, and local agencies made it hard for us keep parents informed. They wanted to know when – and how – school would take place. This threatened to cause a huge rift in our relationship with families. Parents began emailing the Board of Trustees, and then showing up to Board of Education meetings very upset. By putting a comprehensive family engagement plan to work, we were able to turn the tides. In the end, we maintained our good relationship with parents. We even built positive relationships with new parents—even though we couldn’t give them what they wanted.
Practical Resources to Turn the Tide
So what was the secret sauce in this family engagement plan? It was all about doing simple things to connect with families. And these simple things did not take a lot of time. They couldn’t. We were treading water, just trying to keep going, and it felt like alligators were everywhere, ready to pull us under.
We know many of you are swimming in that same river this year. And so, we’ve put together two events to make your year easier, and your parents happier:
5 Expert Tips: Easing the Transition Back to School for Families
September 14 at 2pm ET / 11am PT
Ready4K’s family engagement experts will be sharing 5 tips for:
• Helping kids get to school
• Setting up open communication
• Giving parents ways to ask kids about school
• Helping everyone deal with Big Feelings and layer in self-care
Each tip is matched to a resource, to make it incredibly easy to put the tip into action.
Collaborating to Reach Families Fast
September 15 at 3pm EST / 12 pm PST (hosted by NAFSCE)
This webinar is for anyone in education seeking a quick way to provide families more direct, specific support!
In this event hosted by the National Association of Family, School, and Community Engagement, we will be joined by the Tennessee Department of Education, the Governor’s Early Literacy Foundation, and a Kingsport, Tennessee district leader to share what it looks like to collaborate in order to quickly provide 160,000 families across the state with at-home learning support.