Kerry Whitacre Swarr, Possip reporter and education equity consultant who is also working on her Ed.D. dissertation involving Possip, shared how Possip helps family-facing staff improve their family engagement core competencies.
As a result of COVID, family engagement has increasingly been recognized as a key investment for schools and districts to meet basic needs and to support learning. Family engagement is a skill that you learn through practice that too often isn’t part of preparation programs for teachers, principals, and other school-based roles.
In June 2022, NAFSCE developed a set of core competencies for the family engagement field that is applicable to any school staff that interacts with families. Possip is a great tool for family-facing professionals to build these competencies in their schools and district.
There are eight competencies under four broad headings:
3. Collaborate for Learning; and
4. Lead Alongside Families.
Below is a crosswalk that shows how working with Possip and getting routine feedback from families will help you improve your family engagement practices and staff competencies.
Competency 1: Respect, Honor and Value Families
Competency 2: Embrace Equity Throughout Family Engagement
Possip helps family engagement professionals respect, honor, and value families by asking for regular feedback. Possip recognizes that ALL families have expertise vital to the school community. Possip’s texting platform allows schools to have two-way communication with families in over 100 different languages.
Possip’s communication between families and schools via text is an equitable practice that reaches more families than other communication methods like email or mail.
With Possip, no longer are schools just hearing from a small vocal minority of families. Possip allows you to hear from all families helping family-facing professionals and school staff understand the impact of school policies, practices, structures, resource distribution, relationships, and individual beliefs that affect family experiences and learn how they can be improved–with family feedback.
Competency 3: Build Trusting Reciprocal Relationships with Families
Competency 4: Foster Community Partnerships for Learning and Family Wellbeing
Possip helps schools build trust through two-way, collaborative communication that is frequent, proactive, and personalized. Possip helps schools build a welcoming environment where all voices are encouraged, listened to, and honored. Schools and districts create bonus text questions to invite specific feedback and ideas like “are you planning to come to the upcoming parent-teacher conferences?” or “do you need help accessing our school’s technology platforms?” Schools using Possip show they want to learn from all families recognizing that stronger relationships with families benefit students, teachers, the school, the district, and the entire community. Because of COVID, family engagement is even more important to address basic needs like food, access to technology, or mental health support.
Possip’s reports help schools identify individual family needs for followup and system needs from trends.
Possip helps school communities understand what their families need and can then followup with individuals or all families with connections to community resources, offer ways for families to connect to each other, and bring diverse families together to have essential conversations. Possip also helps districts and schools tap into their assets of their families. They can tap into ideas – of events, community resources, people – who can support their school.
When using Possip, schools are seeing parents as not just recipients of information and events, but as co-creators and co-ideators.
3. Collaborate for Learning:
Competency 5: Co-Construct Learning Opportunities with Families
Competency 6: Link Family and Community Engagement to Learning and Development
Possip also enables families to engage in conversations with schools about the developmental and academic needs of their children. It allows families to share what is going well or not going well with their student’s learning.
Possip helps schools follow up with families that need more support such as tutoring or after school enrichment and identify overall trends that the school needs to address to improve learning opportunities for all students like clarifying the homework policy, instructions about how to regularly monitor student progress on a technology platform, and how to help your child’s learning at home. Possip-using parents have shared that using Possip helps them think differently about their child’s school experience.
They can consider what is happening in their child’s school day and become a more meaningful contributor to their child’s school experience.
4. Lead Alongside Families:
Competency 7: Take Part in Lifelong Learning
Competency 8: Advocate for Systems Change