FACEtime with Our Staff: LaShaé Spratley

LaShaé Sprately has been the Family and Community Engagement Coordinator for Network 3 and the Autonomy Network since October 2016 and doesn’t see herself leaving any time soon. After receiving a Bachelor’s degree in criminal justice, Ms. Spratley worked with children who had behavioral health issues at several social service agencies throughout Philadelphia.

Shortly after, she worked within the social work field where she engaged with the foster care system. While she says it was rewarding, she was continually taking her cases home with her and worrying about the children she helped. Wanting to get some time away from the emotional toll social work took on her daily life, Ms. Spratley came to the District so that she could make an impact while also getting some distance from the trauma she witnessed.

As a Family Engagement Coordinator, Ms. Spratley serves as a link between parents and schools so that families, teachers, and principals can reach common ground when communicating about their students. Calling herself a “glorified problem-solver,” Ms. Spratley spends her days helping parents and families who are in the midst of a frustrating situation within their school.

When families reach out to a Coordinator feeling upset, it is the job of the Coordinator to get them to see the bigger picture. Not understanding the details of how the school’s administrative teams runs the school, parents often only know the side that their child tells them. Therefore, it is Ms. Spratley’s job to both show the parents what else may be going on, as well as empower them to be their own advocate for their child.


To Ms. Spratley, this aspect of her job is both the most challenging and most rewarding. On one hand, getting constant calls from frustrated parents can be tiring. On the other hand, she feels most proud of herself when she is able to de-escalate a situation and “bring it from a ten, down to a five.” Ms. Spratley believes that communication between parents and schools is key to a student’s successful academic future, and the only way that communication happens is if parents can see how much the schools do every day to help their child succeed. For Ms. Spratley, the moment that a parent begins to appreciate the school is when she knows it was all worth it.

Throughout the upcoming school year, Ms. Spratley has a personal goal of getting parents of high school students re-engaged with their school community. “As parents get older,” she notes, “they begin to dial back with how involved they are in their child’s life and think that [their children] no longer need their help.” However, Ms. Spratley knows that high schoolers need support when maneuvering the college application process or figuring out their next steps. Ms. Spratley hopes to focus more on these parents so as to show them how important it is that they stay involved in their child’s academics.

The team of FACE Coordinators also hopes to secure more partnerships and relationships between schools and community organizations. Through community events, neighborhood canvassing, and passing out information about the District, Ms. Spratley, along with the other Coordinators, will be able to increase available resources for students by giving them access to non-profits, libraries, and several other organizations throughout the Philadelphia community.

When asked where she sees herself in five years, Ms. Spratley confidently answered that she would be right here at the District. Following in her parents’ footsteps, Ms. Spratley plans on working at the School District of Philadelphia in some capacity for the rest of her professional career. Hoping to pursue a Master’s degree in criminal justice, educational leadership, or social work, Ms. Spratley sees herself growing within the FACE office, perhaps becoming a director, and continuing to climb the ladder of leadership within the District.

Continuing to explain why she wants to work with the District throughout her career, Ms. Spratley said, “I think the District is one of those places where you can fall in love with what you do and who you work with. You build bonds and partnerships with people that are life-long relationships. But, I also think that I feel that there is a sense of importance of what you do. For the most part, people feel appreciated in their positions here and we know that our direct work impacts so many people.”

As a relatively new addition to the FACE team, Ms. Spratley provides a fresh takes on the District and the service it provides to families. While she acknowledges the difficulties of her job, Ms. Spratley also sees the value in her work, and the work of all district employees. “It takes a village to raise a child,” Ms. Spratley reflected, “and the school district plays a big role in that village.” Ms. Spratley teaches us that, no matter the obstacles they face, parents, schools, and District employees all want the same thing for their students: to provide them with an excellent education and to help them grow into the best versions of themselves.