MERN Forum Presentation id=448
MERN Forum # 27
Session: 3B(ii)
Author: Marlene Gallagher
Affiliation: Aboriginal Education Directorate
Title : Building sustainable relationships in community schools
Description : Community schools engage families and the community where the school becomes a local centre (the hub of the community) where families can take part in cultural, recreational and educational activities. This process works to establish a caring, respectful and welcoming school environment. At the heart of the community schools partnership is a commitment to supporting students, families and the surrounding community.

Building relationships early on is important because it paves the way for meaningful partnerships between families and school; the goal is to work together and address the needs of each child so that students are successful in school. When parents feel a sense of belonging, a foundation is built upon where issues can be addressed.

When schools engage families in ways that are linked to improving learning, students make greater gains. When schools build partnerships with families that respond to their concerns and honour their contributions, they are successful in sustaining connections that are aimed at improving student achievement.

The work of relationship-building does not end, however, when families feel comfortable in the school. The school, along with its staff need to continue to reach out to families to learn whether their needs are being met and, if not, what kinds of help they require. Building relationships with families throughout the year develops a closer relationship where daily practices of family involvement are a part of every community school.

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