School District Celebrates Family Engagement Month
Month-long events highlight importance of familial involvement in education
PHILADELPHIA — On Monday, October 3, The School District of Philadelphia announced a series of family-friendly programming and events to celebrate Family Engagement Month for the first time throughout October, including a conversation about the importance of community engagement in our schools with actor, author and activist Hill Harper, and a Family Engagement Conference featuring information about District offices and available resources for families.
“We know that our students are provided the greatest opportunity to succeed when their families and communities are invested in their learning,” said Dr. William R. Hite, Superintendent of The School District of Philadelphia. “Just as our teachers and principals help students achieve inside the classroom, it is equally important for families to support learning and growth both at home and in the community.”
A press conference highlighted the events planned by the District’s Family and Community Engagement Office. In addition to Dr. Hite, other individuals speaking about the benefit of familial engagement in education included Karyn Lynch, the District’s Chief of Student Support Services; Robert Smith, Regional Vice President of Community Investments at Comcast; Sharon Marino, Principal at McClure Elementary School; and Eva Sanchez, parent of a student at McClure Elementary School.
The District has enhanced its outreach to families and community members in recent years, with the establishment of School Advisory Councils (SACs) in schools. SACs are peer-elected, collaborative teams composed of family members, the school principal, teachers or other school-based staff, students (for schools with grades 7 through 12), and community members. These organizations champion the work for improved student achievement, effective teaching in the classroom, parent and community engagement in the educational process, and communication and support between home and school.
“At McClure Elementary we have created systems to keep all parents informed of the happenings and resources at the school, updated about academic expectations, and how to communicate with school staff when they have questions,” said Principal Marino. “Our SAC in particular also plays an important role in shaping and furthering our goals, which include addressing student attendance, academic achievement, and safety in our neighborhood, and how we will continue to empower our students to be leaders in our school and community.”
In addition, the District’s Family and Community Engagement Office sends regular newsletters to parents and District staff, apprising them of available resources for students and families. The office has also significantly increased its number of family engagement coordinators and liaisons available to support work around helping students achieve academic proficiency and college and career readiness.
More information about the District’s planned events for Family Engagement Month can be found online at https://www.philasd.org/face/events/.