Family partnerships are essential to ensuring student success
Originally published in the San Francisco Examiner.
We know that a child’s family is their first and most influential teacher. Just imagine what a difference it can make for a child when everyone is working together to make sure they have what they need to learn and grow.
I know firsthand that my mother being involved at my high school made the difference in what classes I was taking, which made all the difference in me being prepared for college.
SFUSD recognizes that authentic partnerships with our students’ families and communities are essential to achieving our primary mission: that every student graduates prepared to succeed in college, career, and life.
Our schools are best when family members, teachers and other school staff, students and community members team up to make meaningful learning experiences and cultivate a positive school climate for everyone. That’s why I particularly love those times when school buildings buzz with the sound of all ages gathered together.
Back to school events
Shortly after students and staff settle in, every school has a Back to School event for families.
This week is one of those special weeks. Elementary schools across the City will be hosting Back to School nights. These fun community events are a chance for family members to meet their child’s teachers and learn about what’s planned for the year.
In addition to sharing rules and expectations, families often have opportunities to understand their child’s grade-level expectations and the resources in place to help students reach these expectations.
Working together with families
We strive to welcome families and seek to eliminate obstacles to their participation and facilitate ways to support their children’s success. Each school creates ways for families to gather and be part of their children’s learning beyond back to school nights. Many have class meetings, principal chats and of course parent-teacher conferences as ways to ensure dialogue and connection throughout the school year.
If you are able, we encourage families to participate in school governance through site councils and committees. Your perspective is valuable in shaping school improvement priorities and budget recommendations.
Every SFUSD school is required to include their school community in site planning and the Balanced Score Card process and to have collaborative leadership and governance teams such as the School Site Council and English Learner Advisory Committee. Many schools also have other groups such as a PTA or other parent organization, as well as ways for families to come together in affinity such as the African American parent action committees.
If you need translation to support your communication with school staff, we have dedicated resources to provide translation and interpretation.
Every family member has a rich fund of knowledge about their children. Let’s work together to provide the best educational experience for your children.