We are using cookies to give a better service experience. By using our services you agree to use cookies. Read more

All articles
8.2.2024 | Jamie Lee

Making innovative practices more visible - family school engagement initiatives in Pennsylvania

Everyday, teachers and parents are trying innovative ideas around the world to address the challenges they face so that our children receive the best educational experience they can. These experiments often occur in hidden corners of classrooms and homes. But there is a lot to learn from each other - how can we make the important work of our parents and educators visible?

In 22 school districts in southwestern Pennsylvania, teams of parents and educators are working together on hacks and strategies to increase family school engagement and build trust within the school community. The Parents as Allies (PAA) initiative* brings teams of educators and parents together to take part in design sprints to imagine, design, and experiment with hacks that could improve family school engagement. 

Screenshot 2024-01-30 at 15.54.48.png

Parents as Allies Approach from the Journeys in Family School Engagement Report

Using the Human-Centred Design (HCD) methodology, these teams conducted empathy interviews that allowed parents, teachers, and administrators to understand each other better. This approach helps to establish trust between all stakeholders- as the team learns about one another, they develop empathy for one another’s experiences, thereby building more trust in the community.

Through this facilitated design approach, we can see that it doesn’t take a huge budget to start innovating in schools! There is a potential to incite a movement of innovation in other school districts and countries through the magic of guided innovation. Our work at the HundrED Implementation Centre will be furthering research on innovation at scale and facilitating innovative practices, such as through our Tailor-Made projects. 

Screenshot 2024-01-30 at 15.51.46.png

To document all of the learnings and stories from these initiatives, Kidsburgh worked with HundrED to complete implementation pages for each school district. The implementation pages capture the learning journey of the design sprint process, including pivots and adaptations that occurred and the teams’ next steps.

Screenshot 2024-01-30 at 15.52.09.png

This is a step towards making the innovative work that is being done in classrooms around the world more visible. By capturing the results of each initiative on the implementation page, educators and parents from around the world can browse and learn from one another. Team members can also easily log in to update the page as their project progresses. 

You can browse the hacks implemented by the 22 school districts in Pennsylvania on the HundrED Parents as Allies Collection webpage.

Teams initiated a variety of different hacks, including feedback and focus groups, community engagement events, STEAM and educational activities, support for school transitions, and more. The results of these hacks were not only impressive event attendance and increased number of parent volunteers, but also increased trust, cultural appreciation, and sense of community and joy in the participating schools. 

* The Parents as Allies (PAA) initiative was led by Kidsburgh in partnership with the Center for Universal Education at the Brookings Institution,Learning Heroes and HundrED with funding from the Grable Foundation