Educators from Korea Learn How Family Engagement Impacts Students and Families in Washington, D.C.

September 18, 2017 04:08 PM
by / Topics: Improving Family Engagement

The Korean Delegation of educators took a guided tour of Bancroft Elementary School in Washington, D.C. after a panel discussion about family engagement impact.

Bancroft Elementary School recently welcomed a delegation of educators from Korea exploring family engagement practices taking place in Washington, D.C. for a dynamic panel discussion featuring school leadership and parents. Bancroft, like many of our veteran partner schools, has made strides in effective family engagement and is recognized for its innovative work partnering with families to accelerate student achievement.

“As principal, I prioritize family engagement,” said Principal Arthur Mola. “I want to remove the reasons and barriers why families can’t connect with the school.”

As a result, Bancroft has embedded family engagement into all aspects of their academic and social emotional programming. One of their premier services is Saturday Academy, a monthly program where students work on academic tasks and parents learn how to support their child’s academic growth. Family engagement and this program, alongside many other resources the school offers to support families to be involved in their child’s learning, address unique challenges the school faces.

Principal Mola also went on to say that a “learning moment” was evident after identifying the gaps in parent trust, relationship-building, and families’ time spent at school. Principal Mola reminded the delegation of educators that many of the families the school serves find themselves in difficult situations where they must choose between providing for their children or attending a school function.

“That’s why home visits are important, specifically for parents who can’t make it in the school building,” said Principal Mola. Home visits build trust among educators and families; they also launch a year-long communication pattern that keeps families informed about their child’s progress, giving them the information they need to be involved even if they cannot make it to school. “If parents know a teacher, talk on the phone, or are engaged by email, parents can still feel part of the community and even more welcomed when they come into the school.”

The delegation of Korean educators came from myriad backgrounds that support student success ranging from in-school positions like principals and family engagement coordinators, to government positions that oversee parent involvement systemically. They prepared questions for the panel, specifically asking how family engagement impacts student engagement.

“If teachers are prepared and, as a principal, I make sure they have the right professional development so they can be better, that will translate into student engagement,” Principal Mola said. The partnership with Flamboyan gives Bancroft ongoing access to professional development opportunities and trainings that build the capacity of Bancroft teachers and school leaders to ensure that teachers collaborate with families with the sole purpose of student success.

“Essentially, kids want to do well for their teacher because they know their parent and their teacher talk a lot,” he ended.

IMG_0189Bancroft has been a Flamboyan partner school since 2012. It is currently being coached towards sustaining effective family engagement practices beyond its partnership with Flamboyan.