Children whose parents are deeply engaged with their schools and form meaningful working relationships with teachers and staff tend to experience more success in school and life. However, forging these meaningful partnerships has been difficult for many school districts. In an effort to meet this challenge, Windsor Public Schools have been awarded a one-year, $390,000 grant from the Hartford Foundation for Public Giving (HFPG) to support family and community partnership in student learning and student success. This proposal was the result of a two-year effort at Windsor Public Schools to develop a plan designed to engage and partner with parents and community stakeholders in support of raising student achievement.
Windsor Public Schools will use the awarded funds to establish a new Office of Family and Community Partnership. This new office aims to develop families, school staff, and community partners’ knowledge, skills, and other capacities to engage in productive partnerships focused on student success. The district plans to hire a coordinator for the Office of Family and Community Partnership who will report to the Superintendent of Schools and an assistant to provide support to the coordinator.
This award will also enable the district to fully implement a new “Teachers and Parents in Partnership” model to support parent engagement and increase the quality of an ongoing dialogue between teachers and parents related to students’ learning. It also will expand the implementation of student-led parent conferences in 2016 and a new home visiting initiative. Lastly, the district will also use an Early Development Inventory (EDI) introduced by the Hartford Foundation and previously implemented in Hartford and West Hartford, to engage the community in determining how it might improve children’s school readiness. EDI examines the readiness skills of children entering kindergarten focusing on five key developmental domains for young children.
“We have seen firsthand that when school districts work with parents as partners, student achievement improves,” said Windsor Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Craig Cooke. “Our teachers, principals and staff have been working hard to build more meaningful relationships with families. This grant will allow us to bring this effort to the next level by providing us with the resources to implement our districtwide plan and establish more collaborative relationships with our families and community partners.”
Speaking about the Hartford Foundation’s support for Windsor Public School’s effort, Sara Sneed, Director of Education Investments said, “Windsor Public Schools has demonstrated a sincere appreciation for the role that family and community engagement plays in students’ educational experience. Even before Superintendent Dr. Cooke connected with the Foundation, he had introduced partnership values and principles to his staff. In keeping with leading research on family, school, and community partnership, the district can now continue to develop the capacity of its schools, families, and community members to share knowledge and support student success. We could not be more pleased to support this vision and community plan.”
About The Hartford Foundation:
The Hartford Foundation for Public Giving is the community foundation for Hartford and 28 surrounding communities. In 2015, the Foundation celebrated ninety years of grantmaking in the Greater Hartford region, made possible by the gifts of generous individuals, families and organizations. It has awarded grants of more than $600 million since its founding in 1925. For more information about the Hartford Foundation for Public Giving, visit www.hfpg.org or call 860-548-1888.
About Windsor Public Schools:
Windsor Public Schools serves nearly 4,000 students in the community of Windsor, Connecticut, a town located in north central Connecticut between Hartford and Springfield, Massachusetts. Windsor Public Schools is comprised of six schools: Oliver Ellsworth School, Poquonock School, Clover Street School, John F. Kennedy School, Sage Park Middle School, and Windsor High School. The mission of Windsor Public Schools is to develop the genius in every child and to create life-long learners. For more information about the Windsor Board of Education and any of its schools, please visit www.windsorct.org.
[Photo: Windsor Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Craig Cooke observes a class at Poquonock Elementary School.]