Family-teacher engagement aimed at building resilient school culture.
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The Alliance for Community Teachers and Schools (ACTS), an organization that provides evidence-based training and development to schools and communities, in collaboration with six Baltimore City schools, has developed Project LIFTT! – a new model of family-teacher engagement aimed building resiliency in school culture.
The LIFTT Team includes parents and teachers recruited to become leaders within the school community. Members collaborate in two ways throughout the school year to bring about school-wide change.
First, in pairs as Co-educators, they plan engaging and enriching activities for students, ultimately coming to see one another as resources. To enhance the traditional academic background teachers bring to the classroom, parents bring their experiences in the community. Parent partners can often bridge a cultural and experiential gap between teachers and students. Parents become co-educators – in the classroom, with small groups for differentiated instruction, or tutoring specific children, as the Teacher-Parent pair choose.
Second, as they strengthen their relationships in pairs and together as a Team, members plan and execute a School Development Campaign. Suggestions from school leadership, data analysis, and community support inform the LIFTT Teams to select an issue to address. These initiatives are the beginning of school-wide change. Identified issues may include safety/climate, attendance, self-efficacy, violence prevention, and raising expectations.
Parents build the skills to lead these initiatives through their bi-weekly leadership development sessions. In alternate weeks, LIFTT Teachers join with Parents for joint study and Campaign planning. In collaboration with other school leaders and partners, LIFTT Teams ignite a passion for a change in the school’s climate and culture.