Waterloo, can you expand on this?
The more detailed conversations that we can have about experiences in the schools, both positive and negative, the better we can help the students. There are so few chances to have deeper conversations about what students are really experiencing in Fauquier schools. This relates to another issue that I brought up in my meeting with Ms. Brill and Mr. Malloy, the need for increased family engagement. Unfortunately, the schools mainly use a contact approach- get in touch with guardians when there is an issue (discipline, grades, absences). Occasionally the schools ask for "involvement" in the form of fundraising, help in classrooms, or events at the schools. But engagement is much more.
"Parent engagement is qualitatively different from parent involvement, where a parent helps with fundraising or a school trip, and the teacher sets the agenda and makes all the decisions, she said. Pushor added that parents have “parent knowledge” that’s specific to their child and family that they can contribute.
“When I engage with you as a parent, I ask for your knowledge to be laid alongside my own. Now, when we are making programming decisions or talking about your child’s schooling, you have a voice as a decision-maker,” Pushor said."
Debbie Pushor, quoted above, is Canadian. The Canadian schools have extensive family engagement expectations. Another Canadian, Tony Dalton, lists his family engagement agenda online here: https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/engaging-parents-childrens-learning-term-3-arrives-tony-dalton/?published=t
His list includes:
Learning Walks with a focus on Maths , Inquiry and also Religious Education
Community conversations-"Whats worth learning?"-"School Vision" and "Reporting"
STEAM and STEM family engagements
Community engagement teams
Family SEL engagements
School Advisory Body workshops-"A new handbook for members"
Parents in Inquiry planning
Professional learning programs for school communities-"From Involvement to Engagement",Strategic Planning using the Parent Engagment rubric
School Website development with a strong focus on engaging parents "at home'
Coaching School leaders for more impacting efforts to engage parents in their children's learning
Point being, the Canadian parents have so many chances to see what is happening in the schools and IMPACT policy, teaching expectations, the learning environment. The family is considered an integral part of the entire team. Here, we often experience an approach that is school vs. family.
A quote from a popular online education influencer Daniel Steele that is an example of this common approach:
"Over the years it has become clear to me that support is the #1 quality that teachers desire in their administrators. They want to know that when things get challenging with a student or dicey with a parent, someone has their back"
Dr Debbie Pushor’s response:
“And then who has the child’s or parent’s back? Why do we think in binaries and adversarial ways? What about creating a circle including everyone and having an honest, authentic, meaningful, and perhaps courageous conversation? #parentengagement is a philosophy and a pedagogy.”