Kelly Harvell | Family Engagement Coordinator | Title I Department Wake County Schools
I support schools in their planning of effectively partnering with families focused on student achievement. I also am able to bring the research and best practices to schools, to empower them to make the best decisions for their school community. When it comes to innovation, I’ll have to highlight some of the schools I work with for this question. They are the innovators! We have seen schools pull up a seat at the table for families, all families, to the school improvement conversation, through efforts such as town halls and shared visioning. We are also making sure that sharing data very explicitly with families is happening, instead of a one-size fits all approach around learning strategies family can use to help their child.
Our focus on The Dual Capacity-Building Framework for Family School Partnerships by Dr. Karen Mapp of the HGSE, has guided us to a more research based approach to engaging families. Schools are feeling more empowered to make decisions about what’s best for their community, which ultimately is the most important part of this work. I’m lucky to get to collaborate with leaders across the district to ensure effective processes and procedures that support our students, the whole child, including their family.
If other school districts decided to implement this position, I would recommend looking at their coordination around family engagement at the systemic level. If they find more coordinated support is needed then I would recommend having a similar position. Of course, there are things such as the size of the district to keep in mind. North Carolina is a very diverse state and therefore support needs to be considered from the same perspective.
It is my hope that I am helping schools to recognize the powerful resource that is their family stakeholders. Schools are an institution of our greater communities, so a more holistic approach to supporting our students seems more logical and efficient to me!