October 11, 2011

Engaging Families in a New Path Forward 

Update on District Level Family and Community Engagement

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In August 2011, we presented parent and community stakeholders an overview of the District’s new approach to family and community engagement:

  • focus on your child (schools partner with families to support student achievement);
  • focus on your child’s school (principals, parents, and the community work in partnership achieving school success); and
  • focus on all schools (educate parents and community on important changes and reforms and ensure their voices are heard on Ward and District-level decision making).

As part of the process we said we would keep stakeholders informed, engage you in thoughtful discussions, work to build more relationships and partnerships.

Principals were provided with a new family engagement framework that focuses on creating welcoming environments for families in which partnerships for student achievement are created and families are invested in school success.

The District launched the Ward 5 Great Schools Initiative and began sharing the results of the Hopes and Dreams Initiative and the next steps in the strategic planning process.  We also began meetings about the new direction for the city wide parent resource centers.

In October, the next cycle of engaging families begins.  In partnership with the Community Foundation for the National Capital Region, we will begin a series of 5 facilitated discussions about the parental supports needed to promote individual student success and overall success for DCPS students.  

The meetings will include discussion about re-launching the District Parent Resource Centers in located in Wards 1, 7 and 8, and increasing family engagement in schools and the District.

Expanding the Circle of Engagement

Over the past eight months, we’ve held meetings with stakeholders, reviewed surveys and received feedback about how we are communicating with you.  We also had the opportunity to solicit what your long term desires are for education in DC.  An essential ingredient to producing the motivated successful scholars described in Hopes and Dreams is to ensure that families have the right supports in schools and in communities to bolster student achievement.

We also know that creating a partnership involves listening, receiving feedback and implementing strategies and practices based upon input from parents/caregivers.  We will be directly asking parents and caregivers:  what supports do you need to help your child, your child’s school and all DCPS schools achieve academic excellence? 

Next Steps: Create District-Wide Outreach and Engagement Strategy and Re-launch of the Parent Resource Centers (October 2011-January 2012)

October 24 – Mid-November Convene targeted meetings with parents and caregivers (Meetings in Wards 1, 7 and 8 the week of October 24th-28th).
1st Week of November Draft RFP posted for public comment.
1st Week in November Establish a Selection Committee to vet applications.
November 16 Release Request for Proposals for nonprofit parent engagement partners to staff the centers.
End of November Release brief defining key findings and recommendations for DCPS’ Parent Engagement Strategy.
December 9 Applications Due
Mid- December Selection Committee vets proposals and selects providers.
End of December/Beginning of January DCPS announces RFP partners
January 2012 Reopen Parent Resource Centers for parents and families.


We will post meetings on-line and send information to schools with the dates and the city-wide locations of these meetings.    

We thank you for your continued support and for entrusting us with your children.  We look forward to building a stronger partnership with you and a strong foundation for our children.

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