Engaging Stakeholders TranscriptTranscript of the video presented by the California Department of Education.
The following is a text transcript of the Engaging Stakeholders video, as presented by the Student Achievement and Support Division of the California Department of Education.
Welcome to the Quality Schooling Framework—also called the QSF. The California Department of Education developed the QSF to assist educators as they work to ensure that the students in their schools are learning and thriving. This video discusses ways to engage all members of the school community—that is, all stakeholders.
An ancient African proverb advises: If you want to go fast, go alone; if you want to go far, go together.
Stakeholders play an important role in all school improvement activities, whether it is developing a plan, monitoring progress, or celebrating accomplishments. All of these activities will be most effective if done through collaboration of all stakeholder groups.
A school’s most important stakeholders are the students themselves! Other stakeholders include families and guardians; teachers; administrators; custodians; secretaries; other school staff; business owners; religious leaders; social service providers; law enforcement officers; and neighbors. Each stakeholder group has unique insights, resources and skills that contribute to a school environment where students learn and thrive.
- Student insights help improve school culture and climate.
- Parents and guardians support classroom learning at home and provide input to school policies and procedures.
- Neighborhood police officers promote safety and improve attendance.
- Local health clinics partner with schools to keep students and their families healthy.
- And, neighborhood businesses provide a real-world perspective as they participate in mentoring, sponsor school activities, and offer internship opportunities for students.
Engaging families and the community at large can make a significant difference in improving schools. Research shows that families from all backgrounds value education and want their children to do well in school and have a better life. Often, they are just waiting for an invitation to participate.
What can schools do to more effectively engage stakeholders?
- First, create a welcoming environment in the school. When school staff greet visitors or answer telephones, they establish an important first impression. Teachers and administrators contribute to the positive environment when they promptly return calls and respond to requests for meetings. And schools appear more welcoming when they reach out to families and the community to celebrate successes as well as to resolve problems.
- Parent engagement is improved by providing frequent opportunities for two-way communication. In addition to large–scale events such as back–to–school nights, offering principal’s coffees and greeting parents during drop-off and pick-up times show that the community is welcome at the school. E-mail is often an effective way for teachers to connect with parents. Some schools provide training for teachers and staff to conduct home visits.
- School leaders can make an effort to learn about the cultures and languages spoken in the community. By acknowledging and welcoming diversity, a school can encourage participation by families who might otherwise feel marginalized. At major events, many schools provide translation for the major languages spoken in the community.
- School leaders can reach out to community leaders to encourage others in their community to become engaged in school activities.
- Schools can remove barriers to family participation by providing transportation to school-based events or by organizing activities at locations within the community. They may also provide childcare and activities for children.
Building trusting relationships among stakeholders creates a strong foundation of shared responsibility for improving school performance. It is essential that a broad range of stakeholders be included in all stages of developing, implementing and monitoring school improvement plans.
Meaningful participation by the school community requires careful preparation and clear communication. Providing a clear explanation of the purpose or goals of each meeting, how decisions will be made, and how the group’s input will be used in the decision–making process encourages participation. Discussions among stakeholders may be led by trained facilitators with the goal of ensuring that all voices are heard. Presentations or handout materials should be developed in easy-to-understand formats and non-technical language.
Collaboration across the school community requires a willingness among all stakeholders to work and learn as a team. Schools and school districts can support this collaboration by offering appropriate training to stakeholder groups. The district might provide training to key individuals at each school on facilitating discussions and communicating effectively with culturally diverse groups. Educators might benefit from training on working collaboratively within the district or school and with school stakeholders. Teachers and administrators may need training on better understanding diverse cultures and on reaching out to families. School office and security staff may benefit from training as well.
Families may also need training to learn how to navigate the education system, support their children at home, and communicate with educators. Many schools provide these kinds of classes and resources through a parent resource center on campus.
Parent and community engagement is an ongoing process rather than an occasional activity. Although it does require time and effort by all stakeholder groups, the lasting result of these partnerships is a strong school community that serves the needs of all students.
To find suggested practices for engaging various members of your school community, visit the Family and Community, Culture and Climate, and Equity elements on the QSF website. Additionally, the resources associated with this video include a discussion guide that provides ideas for using this video with your school community.
Thank you for viewing this video on engaging all members of the school community. We encourage you to use and share this resource within your school and district community as you work to ensure that all your students learn and thrive.