SAC Parent and FACE Deputy Chief Share Expertise on Panel at William Penn Foundation Event

Posted on April 27, 2018
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Categories: Family News & Resources

Meaningfully engaging and communicating with families is something that all educators and administrators struggle with—even us here in FACE! In a city as diverse and large as Philadelphia, communication with families is especially challenging. What will grab parents’ attention? Which communication vehicle works best? How do we phrase our messaging?

The William Penn Foundation hosted an event on April 24 at the School District of Philadelphia’s central office to discuss these questions and more. The event featured a presentation by Learning Heroes, an organization that champions clear communication with parents so that families can support and advocate for their children’s academic, social, and emotional well being.

Learning Heroes gave an overview of data it has collected on how families prefer to receive school-home communications. Many of the conclusions found in their research align with FACE’s Dual-Capacity model of approaching family-school partnerships.

For instance, one portion of the presentation touched on “what parents hear” when educators or administrators use “educational jargon.” Bottom line: don’t do it! When educators use terms like “school growth,” parents assume they’re talking about “increased budgets,” and when we use one of our favorite buzzword phrases—“school climate and culture”—some parents think we’re talking about air conditioning, or about the ethnicities of students at the school!

“Don’t lead with data points,” said David Park, Executive Vice President of Communications and Strategy at Learning Heroes. “Focus on how parents’ actions will directly impact children’s progress.”

After the Learning Heroes presentation and discussion, the Office of Family and Community Engagement’s Deputy Chief, Jenna Monley, along with Temwa Wright, parent and SAC Facilitator at E.M. Stanton School, joined Katie Barghaus (Executive Director, Penn Child Research Center), Joanna LaCorte (Quality Advisor, Montgomery Early Learning Centers), and Heseung Song (President/CEO, Mighty Engine) for a panel discussion moderated by Read by 4th Executive Director Jenny Bogoni.

“To engage families we must be open and comfortable with having difficult conversations,” said Ms. Wright. “Relationships are key.”

To learn more about Learning Heroes and their research on how to best communicate with families, as well as a video recording of the event, please visit the William Penn Foundation’s blog.