Family Engagement

Great Alaska Schools is hosting parent discussions called "Community Cafes" at schools around Anchorage. Recently, 50 Rabbit Creek Elementary families and staff came together to talk about how to better support schools and students. The goal was to open the conversation to get multiple views and ideas about how to improve the quality of the learning experience for all students. Participants broke out into smaller discussion groups and were asked questions to reflect upon. At the end of the Community Cafe, parents and staff identified ways to improve the school and student experience at Rabbit Creek Elementary and made personal commitments to help. 

This word cloud shows the most used words, with the large words being used more often, when asked to discus "What are your hopes and dreams for every child at Rabbit Creek?"

This word cloud shows the most used words, with the large words being used more often, when asked to discus "What are your hopes and dreams for every child at Rabbit Creek?"

This word cloud shows the most used words, with the large words being used more often, when asked to discus "How are we supporting every child well, and what might be missing?"

This word cloud shows the most used words, with the large words being used more often, when asked to discus "How are we supporting every child well, and what might be missing?"

The final question gave everyone the opportunity to discuss tangible action to take that would help improve their schools: 

How can I create more opportunities for student success in my role?   

·         Volunteer in classrooms—in my child’s class and others.

·         Communicate to other parents and retirees and encourage them to volunteer.

·         Set up a clearing house for teachers to ask for volunteers, and for parents to offer their volunteer time.

·         Volunteer in an elementary classroom after high school classes.

·         Find out about “Guys Read” program in Fairbanks.

·         Dedicate time to my child—listening and talking about issues and expectations.

·         Share information on the Inupiaq culture.

·         Set up “Protecting Young Minds,” to address pornography.

·         Learn about and get to know my students.

·         Stay engaged with my child’s homework.

·         Help coordinate transportation to and from after-school activities for kids who need it.

·         Set up a running/walking club for 15 minutes right before school.

·         Send my children to school ready to learn.

·         Communicate to other parents and retirees and encourage them to volunteer.

·         Be involved with All-Pro Dads.

·         Directly ask more dads to get involved in the classroom.

·         Work on streamlining school communication to families.

·         Talk to my child about using the ‘buddy benches’ at recess to help other children feel included.

·         Encourage students to engage as good citizens in the outside community.

If you would like to see the long notes about what was discussed at this particular Community Cafe, CLICK HERE for a PDF.  

If you are interested in participating in or helping to organize a community cafe, contact Alison Arians at (907)748-3712 or Val Buckendorf at (907)250-0318. 

 

Other ways to support students at home

Reading to your child at home and spending time together as a family, attending school events, getting to know your child's teacher or advisor, and learning about the milestones and developmental stages your child and teen will pass through are all important to her success and well-being. 

Talk with your son or daughter about the importance of graduating from high school and set the bar high all along the way - be sure your child is attending school every day, encourage and support him and take advantage of the resources provided by the Anchorage School District and the many community organizations and service providers in our city.

The Anchorage School District has great resources and all the information you need to get your child ready and registered on their website:

Visit the District's Communications page to sign up for newsletters and notices so that you can stay connected and engaged throughout the year.  And, check out Destination 2020 to learn more about the District's strategic plan, goals and data.

USA.gov also offers resources for students, parents, and teachers, including information about:

  • Immunizations and Other Health Requirements
  • Financial Assistance for Families
  • Homework Help
  • School Supplies
  • Healthy Eating and Physical Fitness

RESOURCES

Attendance Works - Tools for Parents: http://www.attendanceworks.org/tools/for-parents/

http://www.cwla.org/positiveparenting/

Parent Further: http://www.parentfurther.com/

Children Now - Talking with Kids About Tough Issues: http://www.childrennow.org/index.php/learn/talking_with_kids/

http://casafamilyday.org/familyday/tools-you-can-use/

http://www.americaspromise.org/overview-and-4a-framework

Tools & Tips for Reading with Children, United Way publication