Through a collaborative effort by staff, administrators and parents, Klein ISD has been recognized by the Texas Education Agency as one of three model school districts for family engagement in Texas, according to Maria Lopez, the district’s family engagement program coordinator.
Speaking at the KISD board of trustees meeting Sept. 10, Lopez outlined the benefits of the family engagement program, which seeks to better connect parents with their child’s academic success, as well as outline the action steps the district will take to further family support and involvement.
“When talking about opportunity conditions for effective family engagement programs, we can say that Klein ISD fosters and invests in the elements that contribute to highly effective programs,” she said.
The district provides families with the tools necessary to better support and engage with students such as family/community resource centers, adult literacy programs, parent liaisons, Parent University classes and home visits to improve parenting skills, according to the 2017-18 KISD Family Engagement Plan.
Such programs have been expanding in scope as well as number of participants. For instance, in 2016-17, 121 attendees participated in various programs, including in the Parent University, which formed in 2015 in response to low parent engagement in schools, Lopez said. Last school year, that number jumped to 9,940 as a result of continuous investment and commitment, she said.
KISD also has been increasing its collaborative efforts with the community. For example, the district has partnered with the Harris County Department of Education and Lone Star College to provide English as a Second Language classes as well as worked closely with faith-based organizations such as Champion Forest Baptist Church to create networks of support, Lopez said.
“And last year, we began cross-collaborating with other school districts in the area to expand professional development for the staff directly working in family engagement,” she added.
In the same vein, KISD hosted the first symposium for parent liaisons in May in partnership with Alief and Fort Bend ISDs. In 2019, the cohort will expand to include Spring ISD, Lopez said.
The progress made by KISD in expanding parent involvement throughout the district as well as other areas is one to celebrate, she said.
“People often ask me why I believe family engagement is a critical factor for student success,” Lopez said. “I believe in family engagement because I am also a parent.”