This morning was the first warm Monday that Chicago has experienced for a while — the sun was bright, and there was a high temperature of around 45 degrees. As I stood at my crosswalk post, the sunshine revealed a crowd of diverse families and students entering the school doors, bringing the school to life again.
How do we keep our schools alive? Quite simply, school leadership can keep our schools healthy by building connections with the families who nourish them. In fact, the following types of activities/practices offer a few ways that educators can bring families and schools together:
- Welcome parents and family members to school and greet them as they come to the door.
- Schedule a rich variety of inclusive school events at different times throughout the year so that families with diverse schedules and interests will be able to attend and feel welcome.
- Routinely provide opportunities for parents to share their perspectives about the school and to better understand the needs and interests of families. Such opportunities can range from one-to-one interactions, to coffees, town meetings, and surveys.
- Engage with the community, understand its assets and struggles, and develop relationships with business owners, community leaders, and institutions.
- Take walks through the community, getting to know the surrounding neighborhood and its residents.
- Understand the needs and preferences of families for communication avenues, so that school communications cross language and cultural barriers, and all families feel a part of the school community.
As the weather turns warmer, it is a wonderful time for teachers and principals to look for new ways to step outside and open doors for the diverse families that are our schools. Let’s keep it “spring” all year round.