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    Successful High School Transitions Are Key Focus for Family Engagement Institute
    Posted on 11/06/2018
    Participants gather during the institute to talk

    Successful High School Transitions Are Key Focus for Family Engagement Institute

    October 2018 marks the fourth year that Johns Hopkins University has hosted the Engaging Families in High School Success (EFIHS) Institute at the Seattle Public Schools John Stanford Center. Funded by a grant from the U.S. Department of Education, EFIHS is a collaborative project between Johns Hopkins University and Seattle Public Schools. The grant seeks to build the family engagement capacity of middle and high schools, specifically around high school transitions.

    During the two-day EFIHS Institute October 25 and 26, teams from 24 participating schools joined together to reflect on best practice, brainstorm strategies, and network across school communities to increase eighth and ninth grade family engagement rates. Participating school teams aim to reflect the diversity of their school communities with school leaders, teachers, parents, support staff, community members, and students.

    National research shows that the ninth-grade year for students is a pivotal time in their overall high school career. Regular attendance and course passing in ninth grade are two major factors that can predict whether a student will be able to graduate from high school.

    Staff participate in the instituteAt the EFIHS Institute, each school team analyzed their school’s attendance and course passing data and developed a one-year plan, designing specific events and outreach activities tailored to their own students, families, and school community. In many instances, high schools were able to plan activities with their feeder middle schools to transfer and build relationships with families and support smooth transitions to high school.

    Margo Siegenthaler, EFIHS Project Manager shares, “All families want their children to succeed. This project emphasizes the critical role of families, designing specific engagement strategies, with the goal of building strong partnerships between schools and families to support students’ well-being and success during the transition to high school and during the high school years.”

    Aligning the work in their schools with the four pillars of Seattle Public Schools Family Partnerships work, teams returned to their school buildings seeking to partner with families to increase student attendance and course performance. Throughout the academic year, schools will network as a community, receive professional development, coaching and technical assistance to ensure continuous learning and improvement in family engagement.

    Learn more about Family Partnerships at Seattle Public Schools.

    Read about continuous improvement in secondary family engagement