Everyone is trying to figure our how to connect parents and families to the work of school sustainability or reform. In Atlanta, parents have a variety of organizations helping with connecting them to better educational outcomes. EdConnect was started by Danielle LeSure, an educational advocate. Danielle spoke to me about the vision of EdConnect and why it’s important to engage all families. “Families have to see themselves embedded in the school’s culture in order to really be engaged!” EdConnect is a non-profit she started to teach parents about their school choice options across Georgia. This was a small start that now is becoming a growing community movement in Atlanta.
Family engagement is truly the key to ensuring every child is successful. Positive communication requires that faculty and staff members are friendly, trusting and intentional about building relationships with the students, families and communities they serve. Think about how hard it is to be sure you are providing the right education for your children. Parents struggle with this every day. Private school is totally out of reach for many parents. The waiting lists for charter schools only seem to get longer and longer. Parents need hope as do their kids and that hope needs to re-introduce quality public schools back into the “school choice” conversation. The problem is, most of the quality public school options are NOT in the neighborhoods where students need them the most. We cannot consider efforts to turn around schools without turning towards families for help to develop better policy and programming. EdConnect for over 15 years has advocated for equitable education policy. There is a continued cycle of well-intentioned policies with limited results for families that need it the most. Now, more than ever, we need our parents, grandparents and guardians to use their collective voices for positive impact in our local public schools. EdConnect is just one of many vehicles for it to be heard and used to shape change. With student mobility rates increasing while student achievement goes down in some of our most at-risk student communities, the time is now to advocate! If not, we are at-risk of failing our generations to come.
The solution is you! You can help EdConnect connect students with the right schools for them. I believe the work of EdConnect will help communities improve their local school options. Danielle and her team are doing high quality research and engaging in powerful parent advocacy across Atlanta and beyond. This organization implements family engagement best practices that grows parents advocacy.
Families Empowered of Houston is similar to EdConnect. Their website is a great example of engagement, resources and ways to reach all families. In order to connect families, we have to be intentional building relationships with them.