Engaging Parents and Community in Schooling
Students spend the majority of their time outside of school, yet bridging the school-community gap can seem too difficult or beyond the reach and purpose of education. How much involvement do educators really want? Critics say that education policy reflects this uneasiness in its general neglect of meaningful parental engagement. How can schools fill the silence?
Should parent involvement be mandatory, as this San Jose school district proposes? Or are schools better served, in the long run, by initiatives that foster engagement? Larry Ferlazzo parses this difference in this blog post and shares an example in this issue of ASCD Express.
Also in the issue are resources and profiles of programs that have taken the leap into community-school partnerships and are reaping returns from these new connections.
Located in an isolated, rural area, Des Moines Municipal School (DMMS) in Des Moines, N. Mex., offers health and wellness resources to the underserved local community. As part of the Rural Revitalization Initiative and ASCD's Healthy School Communities, DMMS provides school-based physical, dental, and mental health care for students, staff, and surrounding communities. Programs like the Fruit Wizard make daily classroom deliveries of fresh fruits and vegetables to compensate for limited access to fresh produce in Des Moines. At DMMS, "The school is the community, and the community is the school."