Giving Parents a Prominent Voice in Schools
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Giving Parents a Prominent Voice in Schools


– People can’t fix what they can’t see, and a lot of our families don’t know how to describe what they’re experiencing. I have an opportunity
that allows our staff and our school members
to be able to harness that love that parents
have for their children, and use it in a way
that allows our schools to serve our children more effectively. Part of today’s training
meeting is gonna be about how to help families transition their kids from elementary to middle, middle to high. Federal Way school district
is the most diverse in the entire state of Washington, and the eighth largest
school district in the state. My role is to lead, train, supervise 23 family liaisons in
the elementary schools. The family liaisons go into the community and they build partnerships,
and they provide parents with the information they need, and build this bridge between the staff, the schools, and the
families in the community. – They want their kids to go to where there’s the best program. – One thing that Trise always tells us, is that we need to have
that relationship with these families, so that they
can have that trust with you. ‘Cause when they have that trust, especially within the school, then it’s easier for
their kids to succeed. We’re visible for our families, we can have platforms and
pathways where they’re able to talk about concerns that they have, or ways that they can get involved. – Teachers say to me, “now that
I’m doing family engagement “as a strategy, I’m understanding “how to teach the students.” – Last year, we only had it a
couple times and this year… – The hope is that teachers
learn from parents, parents learn from teachers, and children are able to learn from both. The ultimate goal is to insure that our students are
graduating from high school, with the hope for them to
have secondary education. – Well, we have two fifth grade classes, and they dress up like scientists, so I’m gonna say it’s on Fridays. – Yeah. – I’ve served under four
superintendents, and when you ask, how has family engagement
stayed on the front burner? I can easily answer,
when you empower parents, they speak up for themselves, they speak up for their children, they support teachers,
they applaud principals, they applaud superintendents
that listen to them. The family voice, the voice that comes from the love, the heart, the
passion about their child, that voice has a place
in the education system. You made it very clear, “I’m
a parent who has a voice, “I’ve been to these meetings
before,” you can talk. My most memorable moments in this work, is when I get to hear a parent say, “I realized how important my voice is, “how important my partnership is, “and how important it is for my child “to know that I’m working with them “and their school to
insure that they succeed.” That inspires me everyday. And in our district, it
happens almost everyday.

About James Carlton

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