Co-facilitators: Mr. Jay Pica, Principal of Logan Middle School and Dr. Rob Dixon, Professor of Psychology at UW-La Crosse
The Home Involvement in Schooling Content Arena consists of community and school district staff. Our goal has been working to support and enhance the learning needs of families and community development.
We know through research and best-practice that having involved families enhances the learning of students. The questions that our group has been answering:
1) How do we involve all families?
2) How can we be open and inviting to everyone?
3) Are there things that we have done to create barriers?
4) Are there “blind spots” that we need to be more aware of to enhance our partnership with all families in the school district?
Following the most recent Rebuilding for Learning Summit, our group played a role in the creation of the School District of La Crosse Parent Survey. The survey was conducted this past November. A total of 971 responses were gathered.
We learned that 91% of respondents were either Satisfied or Highly Satisfied overall with the school district. Using a response scale of 5=Strongly Agree, 4=Agree, 2=Disagree, and 1=Strongly Disagree, the top district scores were:
- School facilities are clean and well-kept: 4.49
- I have at least one school staff member I feel comfortable contacting when I have an idea or concern: 4.39
- I know how to get school information when I need it: 4.39
- I feel welcomed at my child’s school: 4.35
- My school provides appropriate opportunities for parental involvement: 4.34
After our study of the parent survey, we turned our attention to hosting Family Focus Groups. These groups were designed to gather information to help us understand the unique experiences of diverse families and determine any important themes that the district needs to act upon. Three different focus groups were held during the month of May. Thank you to Dempsey Miller andTony Yang (School District of La Crosse Cultural Liaisons) and Henry Greengrass (Ho-Chunk Nation) for supporting these valuable events.
The questions that guided our discussions:
- What are some things that have been welcoming/inviting to you as a parent/guardian in our district?
- What are some things that have not been welcoming/inviting to you as a parent/guardian in our district?
- What suggestions would you have for us to make school better, more inviting to you?
- What does it mean for you as a parent/guardian to be involved in your student’s schooling?
The Focus Groups provided some very open, rich, and meaningful discussions. Each group provided us with feedback that we will now look at to see if there are common themes amongst groups or very specific areas for certain families that we can put into a course of action plan for our district to better serve all families. More specific findings and the development of an action plan will guide our work over the summer so that it is available to all district staff when they return in the fall.