For nearly 15 years, OCDE’s Family & Community Partnerships network, or FCP, has been building relationships between school, home and community. With the common goal of finding the most meaningful ways to support student success, the FCP network meets quarterly to engage in conversations that develop an awareness of families’ individual needs and explore resources and tips to expand parent engagement.
These quarterly gatherings, now in the form of virtual webinars, have become even more important during the COVID-19 pandemic as schools and communities are provided a rare opportunity to find different and creative ways to reconnect with families.
“Families are always crucial partners for student success, and this is increasingly true as education shifts to the home during the closure of physical school campuses,” said Sheree Newman, OCDE family engagement program specialist. “Parents and caregivers play a critical role in distance learning and are vital partners with teachers and district staff, making family engagement and the role of the FCP network essential as we begin this new school year.”
On the eve of the first of three upcoming virtual webinars designed to share information and resources with local families, Newman noted that instead of looking at the pandemic as an endless series of challenges, schools and communities can see it as an opportunity to leverage parents as academic partners.
Below are three key areas of focus for the FCP network.
The FCP network offers schools, families and community members an opportunity to build relationships while providing professional development, capacity building and a place to engage and learn about resources to meet the needs of families.
The goal of the FCP network is to work with families to build strong and effective partnerships that can help children and families thrive. OCDE is a member of the National Network of Partnership Schools, which uses research-based approaches to organize and support family and community involvement programs, with the big-picture goal of increasing student success in school.
Local Orange County community agencies partner with OCDE to participate in virtual webinars that share information about important programs and services, including mental health and substance abuse counseling, learning supports and tutoring, basic needs resources and advocates to support students with special needs, parenting programs and more.
The FCP network hosts quarterly, virtual meetings at no cost for district leadership, teachers, staff, counselors, community members and families to come together and share best practices in family and community engagement.
Additional topics for future webinars include building community in a virtual world with restorative practices, understanding 211OC resources and supports for families and schools, and exploring best practices for family engagement as we navigate virtual, hybrid and back to in-person learning during the 2020-21 school year.