Bingham Fellows 2012 topic

Bingham Fellows Class of 2012

Engaging the community to inspire student achievement


Click to download the 2012 Bingham Fellows summary The 2012 Bingham Fellows include leaders with decades of experience and who represent our largest local universities, public and parochial school systems, government, the faith-based community, community-based organizations and local corporations with an interest in the economic implications of an educated workforce. Their diverse perspectives include an understanding of the needs of single parents and populations from all socioeconomic backgrounds.

The Bingham Fellows were particularly compelled by the fact that family participation in education has been found to be twice as predictive of students’ academic success as a family’s socioeconomic status.
By impacting the quality of family and community involvement in each student’s education, the Fellows’ work has the potential to affect outcomes from early childhood through high school.

To broaden resources for family and caregiver involvement, the Bingham Fellows concluded that there isn’t one single approach – solutions need to come from multiple angles and the whole community has a role to play. Their comprehensive approach is focused on the building blocks of school, community and families.

Building Blocks for Success

Principal Leadership:

Principal LeadershipFor strong parent and community engagement, principal leadership within each school is imperative. Principals create the sense of community within the school’s walls as well as partnerships with parents and the broader community.

The Great Principals Make Great Schools project worked with JCPS staff to gather input about parental engagement directly from principals at JCPS elementary schools. The data was clear – from their perspective, parental engagement is critical and more work is needed to engage families and caregivers. Under development are two solutions to the needs expressed by principals: (1) professional development training in the area of family engagement, and (2) creating opportunities for sharing best practices with schools that have similar demographic and engagement challenges. Research data has also been shared with JCPS administration, new assistant superintendents and the Kentucky Chamber of Commerce for use in curriculum development of the Leadership Institute for School Principals. Most importantly, because accountability and measurement have the ability to raise awareness and focus, the Fellows are collaborating with the JCPS Data Management Department to include a Parental Engagement Index as a key metric for schools.

Strong and supportive community alliances:

Strong and supportive community alliancesThe principal survey also found that the links between JCPS and community-based organizations (CBOs) are inconsistent. Because CBOs provide wrap-around services that extend beyond the scope and focus of public schools, intentional relationships between the two have the ability to transform schools.

To strengthen these relationships, the Student Achievement Supports project will work with JCPS to effectively engage and build partnerships with CBOs to improve academic outcomes for students.  As this project has evolved, the Fellows are now serving as members of a planning team for the Louisville Linked Institute.  With Chief Academic Officer Dr. Dewey Hensley, this program will identify students facing critical social and psychological challenges and connect them with high quality services outside of the school.  By putting a process in place that connects students with community programs running evidence-based best practices, JCPS will have a way to connect outside services to students and families facing critical social and psychological challenges.

Family & Caregiver Engagement:

Involvement goes beyond joining the PTA and having bake sales. What really impacts student achievement is how caregivers engage in learning activities and support at home. The earlier it begins, the more powerful the effect. Actions such as reading, helping with homework, showing interest in school work and positive interactions within schools can have great impact on student success.

Family & Caregiver EngagementStrong Beginnings — The Jefferson County Nurturing Early Successful Transitions (NEST) project seeks to ensure children have an emphasis on learning early in their lives and to provide parents and caregivers with a strong foundation as childrens’ first educators. NEST is a pilot program to facilitate collaboration between JCPS and a small number of community-based early childcare centers, reaching about 200 children. Parents and caregivers in these centers will receive personalized education and information about learning activities at home, kindergarten readiness and the new JCPS guidelines for teaching and learning, including the Common Core standards and Common Kindergarten Entry Screener being implemented by the Kentucky Department of Education. The vehicles for providing this education – presentations, modeling exercises and a workbook based on the new kindergarten screener – will be explored with the early childhood personnel, JCPS and parents.

Empowered Parents — To help inform and educate parents on the ways they can support their child’s academic success, a coalition of key community stakeholders are developing the Parent Education Network (PEN), a parent-led group who will work toward making families and caregivers more sophisticated consumers of education. Stakeholders include community institutions that support parents, corporations and educators. With the resources available through these organizations, the PEN has the potential to empower parents who participate, help them develop a peer-network and create strategies that help themselves and other parents. With guidance and support, parents will have the ability to become increasingly involved in home learning activities and find opportunities to teach and be models for their children. Watch a short video about the Parent Education Network.

A Culture of AchievementA Culture of Achievement — When families and caregivers know better, they do better. A Social Marketing initiative will strive to create a new social norm for caregivers to take simple actions, know key milestones and build higher expectations for positive academic outcomes. Using local media outlets and social media, this initiative will reach families where they are and seek to educate the entire community. From the date of the first day of school to parent/teacher conferences and tips for how and when to review report cards, this information seeks to move the needle of parent and community involvement in a positive direction.

In addition, to increase pride and potential resources for public schools, support will be provided to JCPS for ongoing media relations efforts that highlight extraordinary student activities and academic outcomes.