Strong engagement with the local community is a powerful way for schools to strengthen the capacity of the school, its families, and the broader community to promote students’ holistic development.
Effective community engagement is a two-way relationship where the school, families, and communities actively work together to create networks of shared responsibility that support young people’s learning and growth.
How can schools foster more effective engagement with the community? We share some tips for working with families and community partners to ensure that the wider community is invested in contributing to the success of local students.
1. Create a collaborative vision
To build stronger engagement with your school’s community, a great first step is to involve students, staff, families, and community groups in an exploration of what success might look like. What would an engaged community mean for your school? What are the benefits for students, local families, and community partners? Once you’ve agreed on your vision, a smaller working party can build a plan for getting there, consulting with the community as required.
2: Encourage diverse ideas and share responsibility
Actively involve students, staff, families, and community groups as you work towards your vision. Recognise and embrace the diversity that exists within your school and the broader community. Make sure you seek – and consider – divergent opinions about the steps you’re taking to reach your shared vision and the progress you’re making towards your goal. Driving engagement is not a linear process – your strategy should be tweaked and refined regularly to ensure its effectiveness.
3. Be an active community member
Genuine engagement requires two-way commitment. Your school must show a genuine interest in its local community and be proactive in learning about what’s important to community partners. Successful engagement happens when students, staff and principals share their time, passion and expertise to make meaningful contributions to the local community. Remember that building engagement with your school is about more than expecting the community to meet the school’s priorities. Does your school have resources that could be useful to the community? If so, look for ways you can share these resources without asking for anything in return.
4. Use technology to connect
Look for opportunities to use technology to enhance the strength of community partnerships. Today’s digital learning and communication tools can be leveraged to support a more seamless learning transition between school and home, encourage families to become more engaged with their child’s learning, and drive stronger collaboration. Modern school portals and apps facilitate effective two-way communication between students, schools and families, and provide 24/7 access to school information.
PCSchool is a comprehensive student management planform that unites your community around your school’s vision and drives stronger connection, collaboration and engagement. It lets schools manage the complete student lifecycle with confidence and makes it easy to share information with students, staff, families and community partners via email, SMS and app.