Family Engagement Cohort NEWS

August 7, 2019

A Note from Kimberly

I know this is a very busy time for you as you are gearing up for a new school year! Thank you for taking the time to read this and consider utilizing the information and resources that I share with you.

Throughout our Family Engagement Cohort journey I will share these newsletters with Cohort updates and extra resources to offer some additional support!

I have worked hard all summer and am finally getting to take my time off! Starting tomorrow I will be on vacation to be with my girls on their last days of summer before they start school on August 19th. We will be doing our own back to school preparations!

When I talk about Family Engagement, it's hard for me to not put myself as a parent in all that I do and share with others. I want to share my family with you so as you hear me talk about my family you will have a visual of them! Tyson and I have been married for 10 years. Lynette is 7 (going on 17) and will start 2nd grade and Lucy Sue is 5 and will start Kindergarten! We live out in Spring Branch and enjoy the country life!

In this newsletter I'm going to share some updates/reminders with you and share some beginning of the year resources to share with your staff!

Please reach out to me at anytime!


Family Engagement Assessment

You all have received your Family Engagement Assessment Links and PDF copies of the family surveys in English and Spanish.

If you haven't already, please make sure that you have checked your links and are not having any issues getting into them. If there are any issues please let me know ASAP so I can help get them resolved.

Reminder: Please collect the paper copies and keep them in a safe place. I will collect those from you when the survey window ends in October.

Here are some ideas to help you kick-off your survey:

  • Explain the importance of participating in the survey. It’s important your staff and families understand that you value their feedback and that their input will be used by your campus to make important decisions to better the campus.

  • Create a flyer that explains the purpose of the survey and include a QR code that they can scan to immediately go to the English survey and complete on their smartphone/tablet.

  • Have computers set up in the library or front office so that families can complete the survey while they are on campus.

  • Send a welcome, back-to-school email out and include the survey link, attached paper copy and make sure and explain the importance of their feedback. Make sure you provide directions on where to return the survey if they complete the paper copy.

  • Utilize Remind/Dojo/Seesaw or Face Book, campus marquee to announce the survey!

  • Share it during your Open House or Meet the Teacher Night—have paper copies and computers readily available.

  • Hold a classroom competition—get your teachers involved! Ask your teachers to monitor the surveys. Have them call the families before the survey goes out and tell them to be on the lookout for the survey and have them explain the importance of their input. Have your teachers keep track of the surveys of their students and follow-up with those they have not received.

  • Provide an incentive to the classrooms that have 100% survey return rate (ice cream party, jean day, movie, etc.)

The start of a new school year is a great time to kick off your survey and opportunity to communicate to your families how much you value their input and want to use their input and feedback to make informed decisions for the future. It also provides an opportunity for you to make an early connection with them and start building strong trusting relationships.

Survey Completion Update

I have access to the Family Engagement Assessment Dashboard which will let me know how many electronic surveys have been completed! I will regularly share updates on the status of your campus.

As of today,

Devine ISD's Ciavarra Elementary has had 16 Family Surveys Completed! Whoo hoo!!!

I know it will continue to advance as you all start the process of getting your surveys out to families and your instructional staff!

Reminder: The Dashboard only provides the number of electronic surveys completed, not the paper copies you have received.

Please let me know if you have questions about the Assessments and/or need ideas on increasing your return rates.

Family Engagement Assessment Walkthrough

Wednesday, September 4th

AM--Jubilee Lake View University Prep

Thursday, September 5th

AM--Devine ISD

PM--Hondo ISD

I will confirm actual time frames in the upcoming weeks!

Starting the School Year Strong with Engaging Families

I like to ask parents, "What is it you wish that teachers understood about you, as a parent of one of their students in their classroom?"

I almost always hear:

  • I wish my child's teacher understood that I do want to help my child and know what is going on in the classroom.
  • Sometimes they even express that they want to help, but don't know how.
  • Parents express that they do want their child to succeed and want to know if they are struggling and what can be done to help them.
  • Sometimes they express that they want to know what their child CAN do, not just always what they CAN'T do.

Starting the school year strong with engaging families means there needs to be a concerted effort and focus to get to know your families. Ask them questions. Invite them in the learning process with their child. Communicate with them how they can support learning in the home.

The beginning of the school year is a great time to find our your family's communication preferences: email, phone, text, social media, paper, etc.. When is the best time to communicate with them?

Below you will find some different articles and resources that you can consider sharing with your staff to start building relationships and getting to know your families.

Engaging Families to Improve Student Achievement

From A New Generation of Evidence: The Family is Critical to Student Achievement, by Anne Henderson and N. Berla and A New Wave of Evidence: The Impact on School, Family and Community Connections on Student Achievement, by A. Henderson and K. Mapp

7 Questions to Ask Parents at the Beginning of the Year

A set of questions that will help teachers form partnerships with parents in support of their children’s learning.

Beginning of the Year Family Questionnaire EXAMPLES

20 Tips for Developing Positive Relationships

We can easily forget the group that could lend significant support in our charge as teachers -- parents and families. Consider these tips for improving connections with this valuable group.

Building Parent-Teacher Relationships

Effective communication is essential for building school-family partnerships. It constitutes the foundation for all other forms of family involvement in education.

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Great Questions to Share with Families to Open Up Communication about School at Home!

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50 Questions To Ask Your Kids

Questions to Ask Instead of "How Was Your Day?" We know most kids answer, "Good or I Don't Know!"

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Kimberly Baumgardner, Consultant, Family Engagement--Education Service Center, Region 20

Kimberly has worked in the field of special education for 19 years. She has been on staff at ESC-20 for 10 years. She spent 7 years as a special education curriculum specialist and is currently the Family Engagement Consultant.

Kimberly has become quite passionate about empowering families to be more involved in their child's education and future as well as challenging and supporting schools to increase their efforts to involve families in their child's educational journey and focus on Family Engagement as an instructional tool that improves student's academic outcomes.

Kimberly enjoys living out in the country with her husband, Tyson and two daughters, Lynette & Lucy Sue.