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Home to School Connections (H2SC)

Studies show over and over again that strong connections between home and school have a tremendous impact on students, such as higher rates of attendance, social-emotional development, academic achievement, and graduation.

When school leaders, teachers, and families work together, everyone benefits. Through virtual professional development webinars, podcasts, and in-person workshops, the NY-RISE Initiative provides research-based materials on best practices to establish and maintain engagement strategies that help families support their students’ learning outside of the walls of your school building. Our content also extends to considerations around teacher wellness and socially, culturally responsive school environments to ensure all charters are optimized as healthy, resilient communities.

These engaging workshops have accompanying session materials to support your implementation. Please note, you will need to create a free account in Microsoft Box to access session materials.

Creating Culturally Responsive School Environments

Charter school environments that nurture student wellbeing take a proactive approach to meeting the social and emotional learning needs of young people. Such environments support students’ holistic physical, mental, emotional and psychological health in ways that support positive identity development and honor and sustain the diversity of cultural backgrounds represented in a school community. This webinar explores three key actions that charter schools can take to create welcoming, socially and culturally responsive environments that affirm and empower both students and the educators who make up the system of support for students. This session features Andrea Browning, Program Director from WestEd and several staff from the BRICK Education Network: Keisha Clarke, School Social Worker; Janelle Hampton, Principal; and Tashia Marin, Managing Director of Program Integration.

Introduction to the Dual Capacity-Building Framework for Family-School Partnerships

Sally Wade of the Manhattan Strategy Group introduced The Dual Capacity-Building Framework for Family-School Partnerships, developed by Dr. Karen Mapp of the Harvard School of Education. Based on existing research and best practices, the Framework is a highly regarded and useful home to school connection (“H2SC”) planning tool. It provided a compass for laying out the goals and conditions necessary to chart a path toward effective H2SC efforts that are linked to student achievement and school improvement. Participants learned how educators throughout the United States are using the Framework in their H2SC work.

Spotlight on La Cima Charter School- Family Engagement Strategies That Build Trust

Hear from the NY-RISE professional learning community featuring Letta Belle, Principal of La Cima Charter School, a K-5 that serves the vibrant and diverse Bedford Stuyvesant community in Brooklyn. La Cima is unique in many ways, including the school's focus on social justice, its CARE principles, and inclusive programming designed to support some of the city's most vulnerable student populations- those experiencing housing insecurity and/or homelessness.

Principal Belle states in her introductory letter to families: "As a parent, I understand what it means to want the best for your child, so they have the best life chances possible. I see our scholars, through the eyes of a mother and keep in mind the solemn and awesome task of educating them to be productive and positive adults in the near future. I am grateful that you have entrusted your scholars to me and the La Cima team."

Listen to this session recording to learn from this approach, and other strategies to establish and deepen trust with students' families to build long-lasting and authentic engagement.

Recent Research Studies in Family Engagement

Sally Wade of the Manhattan Strategy Group led a deep dive session to explore the recent body of family engagement research. In this research-to-practice session, you will learn from recent research findings related to home to school connections from 2020-21. Discussion will focus on how educators can respond and strategically incorporate these findings into your engagement practices. This content is useful for school leaders, teachers, and staff of every level who want to improve home to school connections.

Planning for Family Engagement in the Charter Life Cycle Toolkit for School Leaders

Successful family engagement is much more than a check the box exercise – it is a centralized series of strategies that benefits individual students and whole schools. In this session, participants explored this easy-to-use guide that offers templates, tips and expert advice and hear from busy school leaders who are making meaningful advancements in family engagement and student achievement. This content is useful for school leaders, teachers, and staff of every level who want to improve home to school connections.

Nurturing Home to School Connections (Family Engagement & Special Education Joint PD)

Interested in research-based tools and best practices for family engagement with caregivers of students with IEPs?

Learn from Meghan Fitzgerald of the Center for Learner Equity and Sally Wade of the Manhattan Strategy Group about research-based strategies to build family partnerships, evaluate culturally responsive and inclusive practices in family collaboration, and update options for family engagement offerings at your campus.

Beginning School Year Strategies to Engage Families: Starting Out Right

One of the best ways to set up students’ success is by engaging their families in their education. Research tells us that when engaging families is a priority, student achievement, attendance and motivation all improve.

Connecting with families during the back-to-school season puts you in the position to create an engaging school and promote student success: from introduction letters to open house and meetings, you have plenty of opportunities to boost meaningful family engagement the first few months of school. Learn with Sally Wade and the NY-RISE team why family engagement matters and how to promote it in your school from the beginning.

How Taking Care of Educators is Core to a Healthy School Community

The NY-RISE team and Andrea Browning of WestEd discussed research and strategies to ensure teachers’ wellbeing. School leaders Wanda Perez of Academy of Health Sciences Middle School in Rochester and Pagee Cheung of MESA Charter High School in Brooklyn also lent their perspectives and practices to this conversation as panelists.

Why This Matters Now More Than Ever:

After nearly three years of disruption in our schools and communities, educator stress and teacher turnover are high. Healthy adults are part of a school’s foundation for student wellbeing. Schools committed to the care of community members begin with supporting their teachers and leaders. This webinar provides charter leaders with concrete strategies for supporting educators’ wellbeing.

Objectives included: Understanding the role of educator wellbeing in maintaining the overall wellbeing of your school community, learning strategies for creating a community of collective care for all educators, and begin planning for educator wellbeing supports at the start of the school year.

Leading Authentic and Sustainable Family Engagement

In case you missed our in-person workshop in Buffalo in November or want a virtual refresh you can share with your team....

Join Faith Burtamekh, a Family Engagement Facilitator with WestEd with a deep passion for school and family partnerships, school transformation, and coaching for a virtual session on "Leading Authentic and Sustainable Family Engagement." Faith has previously provided professional learning, technical assistance, and coaching focused on building the capacity of education leaders and their teams to effectively engage families and communities as knowledgeable members of the academic team in Buffalo, New York City, and across the country.

Research substantiates that developing genuine family-school partnerships supports student and school success. When families are properly equipped and able to engage with learning, their children are more successful. Effective family engagement requires two dimensions: 1. the continuous strengthening of trusting relationships between educators and families, and 2. the connection of family engagement activities and efforts to student learning.

School leaders and staff that participated in this session increased their knowledge, skills, and understanding of evidence-based practices. The session included opportunities to work on redesigning current school events for even greater impact, and templates for ongoing use.

“PD on the Go” Podcasts:

The NY-RISE team knows how busy you are, and that building your professional library may not be your top priority at the moment – but PD is still so important. So learn while you commute, cook dinner, exercise, or walk the family pet!

NY-RISE Podcasts: Beyond the Bake Sale" Book Summary with Insights from the Author
In our first podcast, NY-RISE shares key concepts from the nationally renowned book, Beyond the Bake Sale: The Essential Guide to Family/School Partnerships, by Anne T. Henderson, Karen L. Mapp, Vivian R. Johnson, and Don Davies. This four-part series explores what the family-school partnership should look like, the importance of building relationships, how family friendly your school is, and the link between the family-school partnership and learning in easy-to-listen to podcasts that are only 10 minutes long. 

NY-RISE Podcasts: Everyone Wins! Book Summary Podcast with Insights from the Author
This second podcast discusses the key takeaways and "big stories" presented in Everyone Wins! The Evidence for Family-School Partnerships & Implications for Practice, a roundup of the latest research from a Harvard-based team including authors Dr. Karen L. Mapp, Anne T. Henderson, Dr. Stephany Cuevas, Martha C. Franco, and Suzanna Ewert. This four-part series uses a conversational interview format to make a compelling case for investing in evidence-based family-engagement practices-and suggests powerful ways to put those practices into action at your school or district.

NY-RISE Podcasts: Connecting with Families to Support Students’ Academic Success
The podcast series continues with Connecting with Families to Support Students’ Academic Success, offering helpful guidance from a variety of resources developed by the Flamboyan Foundation on connecting with families to support students’ academic success. For these podcasts Sally Wade, a Senior Consultant at the Manhattan Strategy Group and an expert on family engagement, interviews two experts from the Flamboyan Foundation: Thedra White, Managing Director of Training and Development, and Emily Garcia, Senior Managing Director. 

Flamboyan Foundation Podcasts: Episode #1, Preparing for Effective Conferences with Families
This podcast offers strategies for preparing for effective and collaborative conferences with families based on this resource from the Flamboyan Foundation. It features Thedra White, Managing Director of Training and Development, at the Flamboyan Foundation. 

Flamboyan Foundation Podcasts: Episode #2, Family Feedback Reflection Tool
This podcast provides guidance for seeking and reflecting on feedback from families based on this resource. It features Thedra White, Managing Director of Training and Development, at the Flamboyan Foundation.

Flamboyan Foundation Podcasts: Episode #3, Communicating with Families Around Academics
This podcast offers strategies for successfully partnering with families to support student success based on this resource developed by the Flamboyan Foundation. It features Emily Garcia, Senior Managing Director of Programs, at the Flamboyan Foundation.