What is family engagement?
Put simply ‘family engagement’ is all about the school making sure that family members have the opportunity to play a key role in the academic life of their child.
We wish to enable families to have a better conversation than
‘What did you do in school today?’ (Nothing)
‘Got any homework?’ (No)
Our family engagement practices assist families to ask better questions of their children about their studies.
Why is it important?
Yea High School Council and staff have based much of their work on engaging families around research findings.
For example, Henderson and Berla (1995) and Henderson and Mapp (2002) examined over fifty studies on family involvement and found that regardless of the income or background, students whose families were engaged with school:
• Gained improved educational outcomes
• Had better attendance
• Developed positive attitudes and behaviour
• Improved their completion rates
• Had greater enrolment in postsecondary education
Clearly, the more educators engage families in the academic lives of their children, the more likely our students will perform at a higher level. Reforming what happens outside the classroom is as important as the reform movement inside of classrooms. Family engagement in schools is central to high quality education.
That is why our work on engaging families at Yea High School is so important.
Family Engagement at Yea High School
Yea High School has introduced a number of initiatives to assist families to become more acquainted with what their child is studying at school. The school council has developed a ‘Family Engagement Policy’ which details the areas where the school is looking to work with families. In addition, a sub committee of school council the ‘Partnership Action Team’ works on identifying areas where more needs to be done to improve family engagement within the school. This is done within a structural frame work which is very supportive of truly engaging families with their student.
The school seeks to promote effective two way communication with families. The advisory structure at years 7, 8 and 9 is designed to support this aim. Advisories consist of one teacher advisor and 14 – 17 students. Students work with their advisory teacher and their family to develop learning goals or learning plans – depending on their year level. Families are an integral part of this process. Families are also in regular contact with their child’s teacher advisor regarding the progress of their child. The teacher advisor’s role is to get to know students in their advisory well and also be the primary point of contact with students’ families. Year 7 students have many opportunities to demonstrate their skills and knowledge to their family through expos and student led conferences. Students in year 8 and 9 have the opportunity to give an exhibition of their learning. The exhibition will have an increasingly wider audience as they progress through the school. In this way families can be part of their child’s learning and witness their development.
Students and their families in the senior years have access to a wide variety of pathways counselling services provided by the school. The school provides many opportunities for families to engage in course information/selection evenings through to parent forums and workshops on student pathways beyond secondary school. Yea High School also has a number of other options for families to become involved in wider school activities – through volunteering, school council and parents club. As you read the various sections under the ‘Family Engagement’ banner in the website you will see how the school’s structures and processes have been designed to support this important aspect of students’ education.