We have known for a long time the parent engagement in schools is critical. Parents are key for academic success as well as success in life. Today I am writing about how important it is to expand that success further, into the community.
How can we link schools and communities? Princeton Public Schools was very fortunate to be selected to get free of charge consulting from Mary Cecconi, who represents the organization Parents United. Specifically, she is assisting 10 districts in their World’s Best Workforce Plans. She recently met with our Administrators and School Board Chair and Vice Chair, to emphasize the importance of community involvement.
What is the World’s Best Workforce Plan? It is a state law, which requires districts to engage the community in accountability efforts, targeted to improving the Princeton area workforce. We are supposed to identify 5 goals, align strategies, assign budget and report at an annual meeting.
Luckily, we have our Learning and Living Committee. This committee has community representation, and they have been involved in our District for many years. The Learning and Living Committee includes business partners, the Chamber of Commerce and people who are devoted to helping students to know the importance of community service. They have been phenomenal, and now they have agreed to take on the role of being our World’s Best Workforce Committee.
We are looking for a few more folks to join into this endeavor. If you are interested in helping us, please contact my office at 763.389.6190.
But WHY is this important? It is important for our students. Our students need to know that the community cares deeply about them. They do know that our community passed the referendum. That is very important for our students—a very visible sign of support. We asked you to help us in our Strategic Planning, and you stepped up to the plate. We asked you to let our students interview you at the Chamber’s Business Expo, and you welcomed students into your world of work.
Our work has just begun. This engagement effort is already making our schools better. Just imagine what could happen when our schools and community commit to working together. Could we develop internships and apprenticeships? Could we help our community progress as we nurture our students?
The bottom line is that family and community engagement is an essential part of a truly successful school district. But it doesn’t just happen. It has to be intentionally developed. Are we ready for this, Princeton?
Julia A. Espe