Since family and community engagement is essential for student success, Marist College Liberty Partnerships Program (LPP) created a full-time Family Engagement Coordinator (FEC) position in 2017. The main role of this position is to create and maintain open communication between Marist LPP staff, school officials, community members, students, and students’ families. Various techniques are utilized by the FEC and other LPP staff to engage families and community members:
Technology– Through www.Remind.com, Marist LPP created groups of individuals (students, parents/guardians, tutors/mentors, and school officials etc.) to send program announcements to cell phones and/or e-mail addresses.
Social Media– Marist LPP has an Instagram account (@maristlpp). Event updates, images, and videos are uploaded to this platform.
Monthly Newsletter– The newsletter includes event highlights, student testimonials, and program updates. Each month the newsletter is emailed to all LPP staff, school officials, students, and families.
Phone Blitzes/Mailings– Quarterly phone calls and mailings are conducted to provide parents/guardians with student progress updates and to promote upcoming events.
Signature Family Events– Marist LPP hosts a Back-to-School Night (in September), Holiday Dinner (in December), and End-of-Year Barbeque (in June). Invitations are e-mailed and mailed home. Families register through Google Forms or by calling the office. Dinner, transportation, day care, and Spanish translations are provided to families.
Advisory Board Meetings– Parents/guardians and students are invited to attend the monthly Marist LPP Advisory Board meetings. The FEC provides program updates and obtains members’ input about how to improve the program. The FEC uses these suggestions to research local organizations that are available in the community to provide workshops and programming. Allowing parents and students to participate in the decision-making process during the meetings empowers families to be leaders within the program and the community.
Professional Development– The FEC completed the GSE 4x: Introduction to Family Engagement in Education course via Harvardx. This course of study is an online learning initiative of Harvard University.
Committee Participation– The FEC also is a member of the school district’s Family Engagement Committee, which hosts two Family University nights per year. These events provide community-based organizations a platform to present their programs and services to families. The other committee is the Family Engagement Committee through the New York State Education Department. LPP staff members in this committee share best-practices for family engagement.
The aforementioned techniques have helped Marist LPP establish a strong relationship with families and community members. Since the creation of a full-time FEC position, the program has become more effective in ensuring student success.