During a truly remarkable 2020, my colleagues and I are grateful to have had the opportunity to reach, impact, and connect with a growing number of leaders, educators, and families through our work at Family Engagement Lab with FASTalk. Yet, as I look to 2021, what brings me the greatest hope is the feeling that our work is part of a powerful collective effort, and our organization part of a greater community working to advance equitable educational outcomes through meaningful family engagement.
From California to Texas to Louisiana to West Virginia to Maryland, we’ve connected with passionate educational leaders who are thinking about family engagement in new and innovative ways. They are committed to improved, authentic family engagement practices; committed to high-impact family engagement that promotes student success by connecting learning that happens in the classroom with learning that happens at home. And they are driven by a shared dedication to supporting students from under-resourced communities. But what is most striking and resonant is how these leaders see families in their school communities: as critical partners and assets. They have seen the pandemic widen educational opportunity gaps and they see families as essential to the solution.
As Baltimore City Public Schools CEO Sonja Brookins Santelises powerfully noted in her recent EdWeek article, “we can make our “new normal” better than the old, engaging parents as the partners they are.” With a community of leaders across the country committed to authentic family-school partnership, I am optimistic that we can make our “new normal” a better normal. Our growing team at Family Engagement Lab is ready to support that journey in 2021 and beyond.
Co-Founder, Family Engagement Lab