Communication with students, parents and community is an aspect of the school district’s responsibility that is never ending. New developments over the past several years have led to changes in state required testing, data collection related to students and families and requirements for school involvement with local community organizations. In order for us to be successful as educators we need to have the best possible relationship with families and the community organizations that surround us. This communication is not always easy to achieve and can often be a daunting task to do well for the best possible development of our students’ educational growth. We find ourselves asking the following questions around this very topic: How can we involve the community organizations in our school’s activities and programs; What steps can we take to develop two-way communication with our parents and offer a variety of volunteer opportunities; and How do we incorporate students into this process, so that they feel empowered to actively participate in this communication and involved in developing their own learning opportunities.
As we have worked to address the challenges of improving and increasing our communication as a school district in all of the areas previously mentioned, we have set into motion an opportunity to open dialogue between all of these groups. The junior high and the south building have joined efforts in bringing parents, teachers and community members together for conversation. This group is referred to as the PTP or Parent and Community Partnerships Committee. The purpose of the group’s efforts are to assist in identifying methods for improving the communication and breaking down existing barriers that inhibit positive two-way connections. We have held one meeting and were thoughtful in the selection of the parents who participated in this process with us. This was not done to exclude, but rather to insure that we had as many of the demographics for Greenville’s community touched and could obtain feedback that supported discussion and positive change in how we do our daily business for all involved.
Our first meeting appeared to be a huge success and involved communication to these groups about the desire of the school to foster this change to meet their children’s needs and develop stronger ties through better two-way communication. Unfortunately, not all groups were represented as with life there are many aspects that pull us in different directions. With this in mind, we are preparing for our next meeting and will discuss how to make sure that we get all demographics represented and able to offer their opinions and ideas on how to achieve this desired growth as individual buildings and as a district committed to the growth and success of all our young people.
Our next meeting will be occurring in the next few weeks. As we lay the ground work for open discussion, we press forward with the understanding that while we desire to be the best that we can be for your children, we cannot achieve this without your support. First, we would welcome any parents of the junior high and south buildings to provide support through offering to volunteer to participate in these meetings and discussions. Our goal will still be to have representation from all demographics. Second, if possibly participating with us would not be feasible, we would still love to gain the valuable information, opinions and ideas from our parents and community. You could call in and share or even write some of your ideas down and send them in with your son or daughter.
In the end, we ultimately desire to have a better process for two-way communication, support our children’s learning and growth for a brighter future, and develop a system that allows us to be proactive in meeting all aspects of our youth’s needs rather than being reactive in the moment. If you have had bad experiences in the past, see this as a step in correcting aspects where we have possibly failed to meet your expectations and needs at the time. If you have had nothing but positive experiences then look to see how this process could have been improved through the lens of communication to you or back from you.
Please remember that the communication we desire to foster is two-way. We would welcome suggestions on how to get student, parent, community and staff communication improved from all directions and will accept and discuss all suggestions provided. We know that we will improve through this process and make a community aimed at developing the whole student for success and growth. Thank you in advance for being a partner in this work.