Families are central and critical to a child’s educational performance. Partners for Education has a strong family engagement team that provides training, support and resources to our funded programs. Family Partnership Director Rochelle Garrett has seven full-time staff devoted to increasing family engagement in our service region.
Family engagement means collaborating with family members as full partners capable of making decisions about their own families. We adjust our activities to address family-identified challenges by listening to their points of view and modifying our own, by creating opportunities for shared decision making, and by understanding the limits of our authority and empowering families to embrace their own innate authority. We do this through:
Families and Schools Together (FAST)
A team of local partners—school personnel, parents, and community agency professionals—work as a non-hierarchical team to plan, carry out, and evaluate their FAST program. A parent group led by the parent partner shares information, answers questions about the structure of the session, and establishes a climate of trust and confidentiality. Families choose discussion topics important to them. The emotional support gained within the group builds trust and establishes a social network among the participants over eight weeks.
Families and Schools Together, World’s Opportunity for Raising Kids Successfully (FASTWORKS)
FASTWORKS is managed by families who have graduated from FAST, with support from a collaborative team of culturally and linguistically competent parents and professionals. The team plans and leads the activities that systematically strengthen the children’s bonds to their family, school and community.
Governor’s Commonwealth Institute for Parent Leadership (GCIPL)
Developed by the Prichard Committee, GCIPL helps participating parents, known as Fellows, broaden their involvement in schools and educational advocacy. Parents who are school volunteers and advocates for their own children become sophisticated critics of school reform and resourceful change agents within their school. Building strong community leaders is a key component of our work. We partner with the Kentucky Prichard Committee for Academic Excellence to provide additional leadership training to our FAST families.
Financial and Educational Asset Building Workshops
The family engagement team works to build family assets and to link family members to a variety of relevant resources. For example, in partnership with the Jesse Ball duPont Fund, monthly financial and educational asset building workshops are available for each FASTWORKS group. These asset building services, designed for adult learners, include individualized career planning, adult education sessions, information on college financial aid planning and access to Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) tax preparation and educational savings accounts.