Seeing Parents as Partners Earns Hancock Demonstration School Family-School Partnership Award

Posted on December 17, 2021
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Categories: Featured FACEs

When it comes to family and parent engagement, John Hancock Demonstration School’s Principal Bill Griffin wants families to know how vital they are to the school and the school community. “Parents need to know how valuable they are,” Principal Griffin says before showcasing a school that does outstanding work engaging parents and families in a partnership that benefits everyone involved— especially the students. This passion for showing parents just how valuable they are has recently earned the school the District’s Family-School Partnership Award.

Decorated in colorful tiles (each student gets a tile to personalize), Hancock Demonstration School anchors itself in project-based learning and students work to produce tangible products such as collaborating on the creation of a real playground or creating movie trailers for stories they have read. All of this emphasis on creating tangible learning products and experiences allows students to hold events that rely on parent support and outreach to help make the events special for students and everyone involved. As a result, Principal Griffin and staff view parents as partners. This partnership means that parents help with community outreach, fundraising, and making sure people come out to these school events that celebrate what the students at Hancock Demonstration School are learning. Parents have even made sure to reach out to local government representatives to build relationships between local government and the school, showing how essential they are to the school.

One such event that demonstrates the stellar level of collaboration Hancock School staff has with parents and families is the Family Meet and Greet. Students and families get to meet teachers and staff and the event acts as a way of staff getting to know families and vice-versa at the beginning of the school year. Principal Griffin even mentioned that they had an ice cream truck for attendees to grab a sweet treat. The school’s Celebration of Learning gives parents a chance to see some of the things that students have been producing or learning about– students get a chance to highlight their creations for parents and family members. In turn, parents see all the great things students are doing; Hancock Demonstration School’s highly active SAC and Friends of John Hancock School both show just how active and integral parental involvement is to the success of the school.

While pandemic times have presented barriers to so many, Principal Griffin and staff at Hancock Demonstration have learned to find creative ways to engage parents with technology– such as filming student events (such as a winter holiday show) for parents to view and focusing on positive reinforcement with their students, instead of negative reinforcement. Of course, Principal Griffin acknowledged how much of this success is due in part to the immense contributions of his staff as well; he gave shout outs to staff members (Shannon, Megan, Christina, Stacy, and Kelly) who have been doing great work to make sure that parents know just how valuable they are to the success of their school, just how much they are looked upon as partners in helping students learn. But what about the students? How have they responded to all this parent and family engagement? “I think it makes a difference when they see their parents involved,” Principal Griffin said, highlighting just how important it is to see parents as partners when it comes to the success of their students.