Engagement Case Study

CONNECTION:

I have been a parent at this school – with both my children attending at different points.

RELATIONSHIP:

This was a short-term granted position, so appointing a person that had an understanding of this particular school environment and values was paramount, in order to progress within the limited timeframe.

AIM:

To improve school engagement with diverse families, and to develop a 5-year strategy plan for the school executive staff and P and C committee to build-on and to sustain.

STRATEGY:

The activity was broken down into four key projects. The focus was on ‘inclusion’.
•Project 1 – Communication Consultation
•Project 2 – Best Practices in Schools
•Project 3 – Broaden Links with Community
•Project 4 – Volunteering and Connections
The below is a brief summary of some of the activity.

ACTIVITY:

  • Assessment: Understanding where the school engagement was at, was key to moving forward effectively.
  • Challenges: The biggest challenge was that the school needed to improve communication and other processes before effective engagement could be achieved.
  • Survey: An engagement survey was created, and data collated. The key element here was to ‘act’ even though we were at a research stage, this is why I chose to include some of the second language learners in the survey creating process, offering various translation of the surveys for the main languages spoken in the school. It was great to work with the diverse cultures in the school. Teachers took part in this survey, as did the P and C committee members.
  • Teachers: A CPD teacher workshop about engagement was re-modelled as an online, interactive option because of the lockdown/restrictions.
  • Students: An exit survey was created and delivered by teachers of year 5 and year 6 students.
  • Research: Learning from the activity of other local primary schools, and secondary schools was a big part of the research. This was extended by including research/interviews of case studies from other countries; including American states, United Kingdom and Europe.
  • Crisis Activity: Another lockdown was announced mid-appointment. To increase family engagement and support, a P and C website was fast-tracked in the process. It was developed and is still being built upon to a level where it can be sustained by committee members. It is an inclusive platform for all families of the school, where families can also share on the blog. A YouTube channel was also created to aid sharing useful media for the school families.
  • Volunteers: One of the areas required for improvement was volunteering; (due to COVID lockdowns and restrictions, as well as the diverse community and demographic of busy working parents.)
    • The key activity here was creating templates for handovers and job roles, as well as application forms on the website.
    • The P and C website also has a document page that can be accessed with a password and useful templates and reports can be downloaded by volunteers and committee members.
    • By improving the communication at the school and some of the processes, engagement is increasing.
  • Results: The results from the broader research and family survey acted as the foundation for moving forward.
    • I created bespoke models;
      • 5-dot model to help with communication.
      •  Tracking Triangle to track progress and to help compile a 5-year planning grid for the school and P and C.
      • Snowball model to support the 5-year plan.
      • School Shield for engagement within the specific context.

The school and P and C are currently referencing the models and working with the 5-year strategy to achieve the aims of this appointment. This strategy, along with other reports are available for committee members to access on the document page of the website.