Building a strong partnership with the families and the community

Partnerships with families and the community

Parents and the broader community play a vital role in supporting successful learning outcomes for our children. The Parents and Community Engagement Framework encourages parents and communities to work together to maximise student learning outcomes. This will be an important policy to remember as you begin to form relationships within the school community.

DET, 2015. Queensland Government. Department of Education and Training. Parent and Community Engagement Framework. Retrieved from http://education.qld.gov.au/schools/parent-community-engagement-framework/resources/pdf/parent-community-engagement-framework.pdf

Why engage with school communities?

The importance of engaging with school communities cannot be understated. In fact, it is so vital in creating positive learning experiences for your students that it is a core component within the Melbourne Declaration.

All Australian schools engage children and young people, parents, carers, families, other education and training providers, business and the broader community to support students’ progress through schooling, and to provide them with rich learning, personal development and citizenship opportunities.

– Melbourne Declaration

Through pre-service teaching education to your first graduate position, all beginning teachers need to be continuously working towards becoming a proficient educator. Standard 7 – ‘Engage professionally with colleagues, parents/carers and the community will be particularly important to work on as your involvement in the community in a small rural town will become vital in maintaining positive school relationships. The Australian Professional Standards for Teachers provide a framework to achieve the goal of becoming a proficient educator. In your teaching, will need to demonstrate your ability to meet each of the standards. At a graduate standard it is expected that educators will ‘Understand strategies for working effectively, sensitively and confidentially with parents/carers’ and establishing these relationships to achieve the proficient standard. (AISTL, 2014) Sandy Plains will support you through this process by engaging school activities involving the parents and in community events that you will represent at.

How to engage ‘appropriately’ towards wider communities 

Living and working in a remote community is all about relationships and communication. Although Sandy Plains is not an identified Indigenous Community, you may travel to a nearby community as part of your duties, or you may choose to work in an Indigenous Community in the future. If this is the case, it is important that you respect the traditions of the people living in those emote indigenous communities. One helpful tip is to be mindful of the type of clothing you wear when visiting the town. Appropriate clothing to wear in a very remote Indigenous community is different from other areas of rural or urban Australia. As a teacher, you are a role model in the community and while the dress regulations of the school may be more relaxed, for your comfort and to observe cultural sensitivities, it is recommended that you wear:

  • loose fitting dresses with sleeves
  • loose fitting shirts/tops or short sleeves
  • loose fitting trousers or knee length skirts
  • natural, light cotton or natural fibre fabrics
  • sturdy, wide brimmed hat or cap.

 To avoid causing offense, please avoid:

  • exposing your shoulders and thighs
  • low cut or see-through/transparent clothing
  • singlets with thin straps
  • short skirts or shorts above the knee.

More information can be found at: http://www.teaching.nt.gov.au/remote/index.cfm?attributes.fuseaction=teaching-in-remote-communities#community

 

The Key to Successful Partnerships

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Epstein’s Framework of Six Types of Involvement

Effective communication is essential for building school-family partnerships. Good two-way communication between families and schools is necessary for your students’ success. By having more contact with parents, teachers learn more about students’ needs and home environment, which is information they can apply toward better meeting those needs. To start thinking about some innovative ways to maintain the partnerships with your school community, read this framework by Epstein, 2009.

PARENTING – Help all families establish home environments to support children as students.

COMMUNICATING – Design effective forms of school-to-home and home-to-school communications about school programs and children’s progress.

VOLUNTEERING – Recruit and organize parent help and support.

LEARNING AT HOME – Provide information and ideas to families about how to help students at home with homework and other curriculum-related activities, decisions, and planning.

DECISION MAKING – Include parents in school decisions, developing parent leaders and representatives.

COLLABORATING WITH COMMUNITY – Identify and integrate resources and services from the community to strengthen school programs, family practices, and student learning and development.

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