The best way for the community to support the established teaching and learning goals is by
being educated in the goals and implementation plan of the school. In many instances I feel
the community would help support the teaching and learning goals; however, they are
unaware of the plan and goals of the school. If the community is sufficiently educated on the
plan and data to support the plan then they are more willing to support the school and
program through monetary means, time, and organization. The community and businesses
will help, but need to be educated and acknowledged for their support. “It doesn’t matter
whether you are reaching out for help in writing or in person; you are most likely to get buyin if listeners are given a clear, concise, and persuasive explanation of the planned event”
(Stewart-Ruck, 2016, pg. 12).
The principal is the public face and head of the school. While there are many
administrative and bureaucratic levels that are also in play, to most people, the principal
represents the person in charge. When the principal is engaged with stakeholders, everyone
else is more likely to be on board with getting involved as well. Student learning is the goal,
and it is the principal’s responsibility to engage with the community in whichever way best
supports that goal. Principals need to meet with the parents and community and share ideas
of how we can work together to help our students find success and explain how the parents
and community can help the school reach their goals. In addition, the students need to
understand their role in the process as well. They need to understand how important they
are to the overall scheme of things and demonstrate how their learning gains not only help
the school, but also the community as well.
Principals can effectively explore family engagement, community relationships and
student advocacy by getting out into the community themselves. It’s important to not only
reach community members who may otherwise not be involved but to also educate them
about what is going on in the schools and educate yourself about what is going on in the
community. I firmly believe that continuing school improvement and professional growth
plays go hand in hand. Opening the doors of the school and giving a voice to families and
students will engage the parties and offer collaboration that will help improve the school
climate and culture to your specific school. Improving the school and collaboration with
families is crucial to the success of community involvement. Without professional growth
and school improvement the students will not be getting the education that they are entitled
to, and the school will not be successful. Using all partnerships, especially parents and
students will ensure the school is meeting the needs of all students.
Collaborative environments are important to the success of schools in the world
today. If we want our teachers and students to act a certain way, as principals we should be
modeling that behavior every single day. As a principal we should engage in collaborative
work with our staff and students. Not just observing classrooms, but engaging and taking
part in lessons in the classroom as an active participant. The principal should include staff
and students in the decision making process when possible and show respect to the learning
process, rather than just passing judgements when required. Communication between
teachers and principals is the most effective way to develop genuine collaboration that will
have a positive impact on the students.
Obstacles related to socio-economic status time prevent some elements of effective
community engagement, outreach, and collaboration in our schools. The funding from
community resources might not be available to provide financial support to school programs
and activities. The collaboration process between the school and community might not be in
the best interest of the students. Some community members might have their own ideas and
beliefs about how the school should be structured and operated. The principal has to
maintain relationships with members of the community. However, he must make sure that
the community support that is being provided is in the best interest of the students. With
some team work and persistence community programming can develop into something that
benefits not only the students but all the stakeholders involved.
Stewart-Ruck, J. (2016). Making your case. Advise, 45(1), 10-13.
How can the school community support the established teaching and learning goals set
by the school?
The school system will be able to achieve learning goals by forming partnerships with the
community. The word community means “everyone with any reason to improve the school
or the education its students receive” (American College of Education, 2019). Parents,
teachers, agencies, businesses and organizations are all part of the school community. Such
involvement could include monetary donations, sharing skills or knowledge, providing
experiences, offering facilities, or delivering inspiration. Providing money will give students
the opportunities they might not have had before. Having organizations come in to share
their experiences provides students with real-life connections and may inspire students to
work hard in school to achieve their aspirations. The most important part is that all
community partnerships have one goal in mind, and that is student success.
Why is it important for principals to establish and maintain a foundation for developing
relationships among stakeholders in the school community – students, school personnel,
parents, and the community at large – for the express goal of supporting student
Principals need their schools to succeed. The only way they will succeed is by creating those
nurturing partnerships. According to the NEA, they found that there are ten strategies for
effective partnerships. Those are agreeing on core values, listening to the community, using
data to set priorities and focus strategies, providing relevant on-site professional
development, building collaborations with community partners, focusing on high needs
students, building relationships between staff and families, communication rigorous
expectations, acknowledging cultural differences, and connecting students to the community
(National Education Association, 2011). As long as principals follow these guidelines then
they will succeed.
Our principals motto in our school is “first the heart then the mind”. We have to care about
the students and other staff members before we can reach them academically. When
students feel loved they listen. When parents feel heard they are more connected to the
classroom. When staff members are seen and heard they work harder. When community
members feel engaged they keep providing enriching opportunities. It all starts with the
principal who needs to create an example for others to follow.
In addition to examining research findings, how can principals effectively explore family
engagement, mutually beneficial community relationships, and student advocacy? What
relationship does continuing school improvement and professional growth play?
It is important for a principal to be seen and heard in the school and community. Principals
should be using technology to their advantage. They should be creating videos of themselves
reading stories to students to put on the schools Facebook, Instagram and Twitter accounts.
They should be sending out Google surveys to families asking how they would like to get
involved in their child’s schools. They should be reaching out to the PTA to see how they
can get involved. They should be contacting local organizations to donate time and resources
to help better the school. They should be encouraging teachers to share and collaborate. Our
principal showed us she cared by putting a mini fridge in our teacher’s lounge. Every month
she fills it with snacks and goodies. Each month there is a different theme. February is all red
themed fruits. This is one way to boost morale and to show appreciation for your staff.
How can principals and school leaders create a collaborative environment for teachers
while also establishing a genuine learning environment for students?
In order to create a collaborative learning environment teachers need time. I think that is the
one thing that is most appreciated. Teachers are so busy and to be given time to collaborate
with other staff members will increase production, inspire teachers and create opportunities
to learn from each other. Teachers then use these resources that were received to engage
students in new opportunities. Another way is to provide teachers opportunities to attend
various professional development opportunities. I know that when I attend a highly
motivating professional development workshop I am motivated to bring it back to the
classroom. By giving teachers more time to work in groups and more hours at professional
development workshops, you are helping motivate teachers to be the best that they can be
for their students.
What are the obstacles or challenges preventing effective community engagement,
outreach, and collaboration in schools?
Again, time is a contributing factor that limits effective community programs in schools. If
given more time, our school would have many more partnerships in the community then we
currently do. Organization is also a factor. We do not have a committee responsible for
contacting outside agencies. Teachers are responsible for making their own connections.
Sometimes our principal will send out opportunities. If a well established committee was in
place, we would have more partnerships and the programs would be more
effective. Funding is also a huge factor when it comes to providing opportunities for
students. We have all these grand ideas, but no clue where the money is going to be coming
from. As an administrator I would invest my time in locating grants for school/community
Overall, I have learned how to create effective partnerships with staff, students, parents and
community agencies. I have learned the importance of making connections, engaging
families, working with the community, student advocacy, and involving others. After
reading an article from the NEA, I found a strong take-away that establishes the meaning of
this whole course. “The Chicago study confirms that engaging families and communities in
student learning is a core strategy for school reform, and that its impact on a school’s
prospects for success are as powerful as the impact of strong leadership and quality teaching”
(National Education Association, 2011).
American College of Education (2019). Community Engagement. [Module 1 Beyond the
School Part 2 Community Involvement], EL5053 Community Engagement, Outreach and
Collaboration. Retrieved from http://ace.instructure.com
National Educational Association. (2011). Family-School-Community-Partnerships 2.0.
Retrieved January 31, 2019, from http://www.nea.org/assets/docs/Family-SchoolCommunity-Partnerships-2.0.pdf (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site.
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