As you know, last week I was away at the second biennial state principals’ conference. The two big agenda items were schools developing a whole of school teaching framework and a parent and community engagement framework. The latter is important as research show those children whose parents are actively involved in their schools and learning produce better learning outcomes.
One aspect discussed was “Learning partnerships”. Partnerships are one of the priority areas of our AIP under “Confidence”. Learning partnerships raise parent's awareness of their power to improve their children's learning. Effective learning partnerships involve schools, parents and the community committing to work together to take action to improve students' learning, at school and at home. While involving parents in school activities (e.g. volunteering, fund raising, attending school events) is important, it is engagement through learning partnerships which has been shown to have much greater impact on student outcomes.
Because there are diverse parent and communities, every school will adopt different approaches to ensure that learning stretches beyond the school. Schools use a whole school community model of engagement, including:
· High expectations for all adults and students who participate in the work of the school
· The practice of building on the students, parents and community's strengths
· A priority on creating and fostering partnerships from many parts of the community
We have gone a long way over the past few years in developing “learning partnerships” here at Cecil Plains, but we still need to continue building on parent and community engagement.
What can you do to help at home? As I continually say, find a way to be actively engaged in the school and more importantly your children’s learning. Keep in touch with your children’s teachers. Remember, in most cases what children tell parents is only a very small part of what they are doing at school. If you have high expectations for your children (and every parent should), then you need to demonstrate that to your children by being actively involved in their learning.