Our community school’s “stamp” system is genius. Red stamps, green stamps, a left stamp vs. a right stamp, a signature on the top, a signature on the bottom, parent signatures, teacher signatures. It all means something. It’s a fantastic parent-school communication tool. It covers everything from attendance to homework completion to GPA to how long a student has to stay after school and more. A six page document condenses into a tiny font front/back explanation that students go over with their parents as one of their first homework assignments. Then the teacher calls the parent and reviews it with them. The parent brings back a signed copy on back to school night. It’s so well designed.
And I, of course, had an issue with it. It was the first faculty meeting of the year, and I was already frustrated. I didn’t know if I, a Community School Coordinator, should speak up.
It wasn’t the stamp system. I love the stamp system. It was that we were starting off our family relationship building with a phone call lecture, not a single question to these individuals, our partners, who had known the students for 15 more years than we had. What a missed opportunity!
Was I the only one in the room thinking this?
I was. Literally. I was the only one.
And to me, that was the most frustrating part. Could we add a question to the phone call script? Sure, but still no one’s thinking would much shift. No one would think about parent/teacher relationship building the next time, or few would.
So much of coordination is understood and measured by the numbers of partners we have, the number of parents who participate, or the number of resources we bring in. While these measurables are important and necessary for us to keep our positions funded and for us to have data to drive our work, as Community School Coordinators we need to feel confident that our perspective, voice, and thoughtfulness are valuable and often extremely unique.
Weaving community schools thinking into our work exponentially catalyzes our partnerships, relationships, and our students’, families’, and schools’ success.
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