For decades, researchers have said that family involvement impacts a child’s grades and test scores, attendance, homework completion and attitudes and behaviors. In addition, students who have involved families graduate from high school at higher rates and are more likely to enroll in higher education. For these reasons, creating meaningful parent collaboration that improves student achievement is a goal for all students, especially those serving low income and high risk communities like North Chicago.
In 2015-2016, NCCP worked with school principals, teachers and the broader community to design and implement or facilitate more than 60 opportunities for families to purposefully engage in the school community through after hour events and field trips such as Family Reading Night, Family Health & Wellness Open House, Family STEM Night, Saturday Character Education Luncheons and visits to Kohl Children’s Museum. Below are just a few highlights of Family Engagement Evens planned and executed by NCCP during the 2015-2016 academic year:
- Community Carnivals: 1,190 total people participated in NCCP’s Community Carnivals, engaging 340 families and 725 students.
- Health and Wellness Open Houses: NCCP hosted a total of 6 Health and Wellness Open Houses through the duration of the 2015-2016 academic year, engaging 1,590 total guests, 340 families and 725 students.
- Family Math and Reading Nights: A Family Math and Reading Night was hosted for both K-2 school populations, engaging 238 total guests, 68 families and 142 students.
- Family STEM Nights: A STEM Night was hosted at each 3-5 grade school, engaging 188 guests, 60 families and 113 students.
FACET: Recognizing the importance of purposefully engaging parents/guardians and the broader community in the academic, social and behavioral development of children, the leadership of North Chicago CUSD 187, in collaboration with North Chicago Community Partners, created FACET: The Family and Community Engagement Team. Established in September, 2014, FACET meets on a weekly basis and is charged with developing and implementing a clear vision and comprehensive system for family engagement and education that is aligned with district and school improvement goals and priorities, and efficiently leverages the resources of community partners. The Illinois State Board of Education’s Family Engagement Framework serves as the foundation of FACET’s work, helping to guide and prioritize policies and practices. During 2015-2016, the district continued to make progress in all four principles for family engagement outlined by ISBE, including Developing a Family Engagement System, Building Warm and Supportive Environments, Enhancing Communication, and Including Parents in Decision Making Process.
Military-Connected Family Engagement: In the spring of 2016, NCCP launched a pilot initiative to strengthen relationships with and between military-connected families, NCCP and the district. The long-term initiative kicked off with three military-connected family coffees in the spring of 2016 to start the relationship building process with families. In total, 19 adults and eight children came out to participate.