After bringing together five states leading the charge in family engagement across the country, participants of Flamboyan Foundation’s inaugural National Family Engagement Fellowship emerged with the resources and tools they need to begin developing a sustainable, organizational approach for family engagement practice in their jurisdictions. The three-day convening featured dynamic workshops, advice and insights from experts in the field, planning and design time, team-building activities, and an exploration of equity. In addition to these impactful sessions, fellows had a rare opportunity to collaborate and come together in a space where they will continue to thought-partner about lessons learned and high-impact strategies.
In order to find solutions, particularly those relating to educational barriers and challenges, Flamboyan intentionally creates opportunities for collaboration among and seeks perspectives from various stakeholders. The idea is a reflection of Flamboyan’s core value Catalytic Action – pursuing goals with passion and urgency and activating others to carry work further.
In their own words, fellows share why they are excited about building connections across geographic locations that allow them to collaborate with colleagues on the ground doing the work and with communities that the work impacts.
“Professionally, I am eager to go deeper with this work [family engagement], to learn from communities across the nation and to work with this robust and committed team to implement effective and sustainable parent engagement structures that are fully aligned to increasing student achievement and are grounded on research and best practices.” Patsy Roybal, Interim Colorado Director, Parent Teacher Home Visit Project, Denver, CO.
“This professional development opportunity enables me to be more strategic in moving family engagement work forward. I will also learn about family engagement practices around the country that have been successful in strengthening families and improving outcomes for children. In turn, I will have the opportunity to share best practices and lessons learned in City Schools.” Demetria Singleton, Family and Community Engagement Training and Development Specialist for Baltimore City Public Schools, Baltimore, MD.
“I am hopeful that the fellowship will provide suggested ways to strengthen collaboration…Low levels of engagement is not always an indicator of lack of interest; it may be a symptom that there are fragmented programs and services. I want to ensure that everyone is being afforded the opportunity to engage and that there is a spirit of doing things “with” instead of “to” the community. In turn, all voices are recognized and embraced.” Deidre Anderson, Executive Director of United Inner City Services (UICS), Kansas City, MO.
“By participating in the Fellowship, I hope to connect with leaders from around the country to learn about best practices and develop my skills in strategic planning, program design, and evaluation. The opportunity to participate in a professional learning community with colleagues nationwide would help advance our goals of becoming one of the leading districts in the country in regards to our family engagement work.” Molly Sehring, Director of Family and Community Partnerships, Metro Nashville Public Schools, Nashville, TN.
“The most powerful partnerships flourish when people are empowered to define their realities to find solutions to their issues. In the world of family engagement, empowerment is the ultimate goal.” Glennys Sánchez, Director of Research, 1647 – Connecting Families and Schools, Boston, MA.
To learn more about the National Family Engagement Fellows, read their bios here.