The COVID-19 pandemic has managed to achieve something that no other crisis could ━ it has closed the gap between home and school. Students of all ages were impacted by this unexpected turn of events and it’s safe to say that the parents were also taken by surprise.
Bringing home and school together has managed to enhance the oftentimes neglected family engagement and achieve a newfound sense of cohesion between families and educators.
This unprecedented social phenomenon will leave the lives of both the children and their parents changed forever. It’s up to us whether this change will turn out to be either positive or negative. You might still wonder why family engagement is important. Worry not, we’ve got you covered.
In this article, we invite you to explore the ways in which we can bring families and schools together as an indivisible force to be reckoned with.
Encouraging Educators to Learn From Families
It’s safe to say that every parent is an expert in their own right. Perhaps not an expert at physics or algebra, but one at providing the best support for their children. Nobody knows their children’s needs as well as they do.
Educators already have plenty on their hands, so why not value the parent’s expertise even more? Before the pandemic, parents and educators had very few chances of exchanging ideas and collaborating efficiently. All in all, family-school partnerships were practically unheard of.
As people of African-American descent, we strongly believe that it’s important to provide educators with a culturally accurate outlook on what our children’s education should look like.
Instead of being merely tolerated as minorities in predominantly white schools, we should encourage schools to celebrate our culture rather than downplay it. Cultural awareness is something that our children need.
Another important aspect when it comes to the family-school partnership is how it can positively impact the children’s grades and overall academic performance. It’s no secret that children love to feel encouraged and even praised for their good work. What better way to motivate them than by being actively involved in their school life? It’s the only way towards a more equity-based school system.
Getting Involved In After-School Activities
Another fantastic way to help close the gap between home and school would be to encourage our children to participate in after-school activities. Not only that but we should also get involved alongside them.
The long-term benefits are impossible to ignore. Community engagement is more important than ever before. The turbulent times in which we live should drive us back to our communities instead of further apart. First-generation college students also rely heavily on the support of their communities.
Black-owned, community-based organizations are the perfect fit for our youth. Not only will they have the chance to connect with like-minded individuals, but they’ll also receive culturally responsive youth development and parental engagement solutions among many other things.
These organizations must aim to develop cultural pipelines that will lead our children not only to academic excellence but also to having great careers that will ultimately enable them to give back to their communities. After-school programs encourage the dismantling of the family-school gap and counteract it with intensive family engagement activities.
Counteracting Systemic Racism
Sadly, injustice has always played a pivotal part in our lives, as people of color. We can all agree that we don’t want our children to deal with systemic racism anymore. Schools have the tendency to interact with us in a biased manner. This only ends up perpetuating the same racist educational experience for our youth. Black student engagement should become a priority for all schools in our country.
With the help of family engagement in schools and culturally affirming after-school activities, we just might start seeing a significant change, for the sake of our children as future successful African-American adults.
The gap between school and home will not go anywhere unless we collectively decide to invest more time and energy when it comes to our children’s education. Cultural responsiveness won’t happen overnight, it has to start one child at a time. This is the safest way towards an equity-focused society.
The Conclusion Is…
The Coronavirus pandemic has facilitated the closing of the gap between home and school. We currently have the unprecedented power of bridging this gap and making sure that our youth is properly supported by both their families and educators.
As we’ve seen above, educators should be urged to connect with the students’ families in a more wholesome manner. After all, parents are experts too. We’ve also emphasized the importance of after-school activities and how they play a relevant role for the Black youth. Last, but certainly not least, we’ve discussed the heavy weight that systemic racism has imposed upon our people. It’s time to start making liberating changes.
What better way to start than by supporting one child at a time? The Village Method is a well-known and highly respected community-based grassroots organization that has the empowerment and elevation of young Black people as its core missions.
We do this by prioritizing family engagement, youth development, and community outreach programming. We kindly invite you to visit our website and find out how you can support our Black-owned initiative!