What’s in a Name?
At Family Engagement Lab, we value our customers and how much we learn about the existing and evolving needs of students and their parents/caregivers, teachers, schools, and districts in equitably engaging families with academics. For every implementation of our service, FASTalk, we partner with customers to understand their goals for family engagement and its role in their instructional strategy to support student learning. While we have always put the customer first in our work, what that means and how that looks has changed over the last 5 years and especially since the pandemic and its impact on students, their families and the school community.
When our Customer Success team launched in 2018, the team's priority was simply to help teachers use FASTalk and to have a great experience with it to build relationships with families and to boost their students’ learning. But, with the pandemic and shifted priorities in schools, we noticed a change in our level of support for our district partners as well. Families had more visibility into their child’s education and teachers experienced stress and challenges as never before. This dynamic, combined with our existing practice of supporting customers, resulted in even deeper levels of empathy and partnership. Sometimes we zoomed out to a big picture view with customers to understand an overarching goal or zoomed in on an immediate need and customized their FASTalk service to be timely and relevant.
At Family Engagement Lab, our support for customers goes beyond ensuring success with our product. We start by spending time with district-level academic instructional leads and family engagement coordinators to gain an understanding of the unique needs of each of the communities we serve. Only then can we work alongside the schools and school systems to set goals around academic and family engagement priorities and implement our products, professional development, and/or coaching services with an asset-based approach. Given the shifted priorities since March 2020, our department's name "Customer Success," didn't quite reflect how our district partners thought of us or how we think of ourselves.
So effective this year, our Customer Success Team at Family Engagement Lab has changed its name to District Partnerships. The name change more accurately reflects how Family Engagement Lab works with our customers; as valued partners.
To better support teachers’ unique needs and build teachers’ capacity to form meaningful partnerships with families, we also welcomed Kelsey Hodge as our new Partner Success Manager. Kelsey is a former secondary classroom teacher and understands first-hand the role family engagement plays in learning and the common barriers that prevent it. Through trainings, PD, 1-1 support, and innovative beta testing opportunities, Kelsey works closely with teachers to try out new family engagement strategies to build authentic relationships with their students’ families.
The District Partnerships team is committed to helping our customers reach families equitably in their home language with content linked to student learning and helping teachers to build trusted relationships with their students’ families. These are, and will continue to be, our team’s highest priorities.
To learn more about how the District Partnerships team can help support your family engagement efforts, contact Hannah Lee, Director, District Partnerships.