Local Engagement: School Support

Getting parents and communities engaged in schools is important, but it can be difficult. Many schools, however, have managed to get the community more involved to help promote education and give the children more advantages.

McDowell Countyshutterstock_137058641 (1)

One struggling area was McDowell County, which was constantly ranked last in education in West Virginia. The area is constantly struggling and many residents are unemployed. However, they didn’t let that keep their schools down. The county worked with the American Federation of Teachers and West Virginia State Board of Education to create a project that would invigorate schools. The project provides professional development to teachers and allows the school to offer comprehensive breakfast and lunch programs. An organization called First Book has donated an age-appropriate book to every child in the school system to promote reading.

Cincinnati, Ohio

Cincinnati, Ohio is another area that was struggling. They had terrible school buildings, but knew a levy wouldn’t pass without community support. To get the community’s support, they turned the schools into community centers after school hours, so they could benefit the people who would have to pay the levy. The school offers many programs to the community, such as mental health services, dental health services, tutoring, hot dinner, enrichment, and they are looking to open a school-based health clinic. As a result, the school excelled. It has increased attendance, experiences fewer behavioral incidents, and parents are more involved.

Your Community

If these two areas can turn their schools around, so can your community. To get started, however, you’ll need to form a committee that can oversee the goals and progress. The principal, teachers, parents and, in the case of high schools, some students should be part of the committee. Once the committee is formed, they can create goals and an action plan to improve the school and community involvement. The program shouldn’t focus only on academic goals. Think about behavioral and school climate goals too. Having a variety of goals helps improve the school all around.

Schools are extremely important to any community, and regardless of which type of neighborhood you live in, there are steps you can take to improve schools and get the community involved.

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