Community and family involvement in student learning has positive outcomes: lower absenteeism, positive student achievement, better civic engagement, fewer discipline issues and higher graduation rates. Developing community-family-school alliances can foster partnerships and opportunities to support students. Students can gain confidence and improve their academic performance when supported by their family and the community, and school districts can work towards equitable outcomes.
A Master of Education in Educational Leadership – Professional Track online program from Southeastern Oklahoma State University can prepare professionals to take on educational leadership roles, such as a school principal. If you're interested in promoting success within your school district by achieving community involvement, this online degree program may be right for you.
How Principals Can Achieve Community Involvement
To meet the challenges of school-family-community involvement, there are a few ways that school principals and administrators can promote engagement:
- Increased communication. Increased communication and transparency start with those in leadership roles. Communicating via social media or other online sources is one step towards school transparency. A school can show how it's open-minded, share sources of inspiration, provide a peek into daily activities and share messages from teachers and administrators. This openness can help the school connect with parents and community members and encourage public interest and excitement.
- Active engagement with students and the community. When a student is actively engaged in the learning process, they have a curiosity about the topic. Student engagement and interest begins when they feel comfortable and safe to speak out in class and take risks. A trusting classroom environment begins with community relationships that foster security and enhance real-world skills.
- Cultural awareness. When a principal encourages and promotes diversity, they can create an inclusive environment. By creating a safe space, students can learn without fear of bullying or harassment and make positive relationships with other students and staff. Fostering cultural awareness creates a space of inclusivity, which improves students' academic outcomes and helps schools work toward educational equity.
The Value of Community Involvement
Schools that have engaging relationships with community members and families help parents feel comfortable interacting with educators and administrators. These connections result in a positive relationship between school and home. Studies have shown that parental engagement is a vital component to a students' success and a school's environment. Consistent community involvement results in student retention, higher grades and participation in top-level programs.
Educational leaders can connect with local businesses, organizations and charities to foster relationships. They can also encourage community members to share information with students and staff about their careers, lives, struggles, advancements and inspirations. Some may be interested in participating in before- and after-school programs to assist with tutoring. Some might like offering assistance with the physical education department or providing tips to students interested in art and music. For those with limited availability who might not be able to physically participate, leaders can give the option for donations or sponsorships. This is a good way to source needed items like electronics, sports equipment, uniforms, musical instruments or classroom technology.
Strong community and familial involvement with a school have proven to positively impact student success and well-being. An advanced education degree in educational leadership can equip professionals with the tools and skills to drive these relationships and build rich community relationships.
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