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Butler Area School District

Implementation of Data with a Twist

Parental Engagement







Target group
January 2024
The previous closure of Broad Street Elementary caused distrust within the community; its reopening provided an opportunity for unity. We chose to develop relationships with all stakeholders and build a collaborative partnership with the community.

About the implementation

Parents shared unsettling memories of the closure of Broad Street ES. Their preconceived notions were a challenge and led to concerns for the school team. Our hack intended to build a bridge between staff and parents to convey that we were serious about education. We committed to being intentional about finding innovative learning opportunities for our Scholars in a joyful environment.

What did you do in practice?

At the event, parents, staff and scholars fellowshipped in the outdoor Agriculture Classroom partaking in a lovely meal. The kids were busy visiting STEAM stations in the school and getting reacquainted while their parents became more comfortable with their return to newly reopened Broad Street school. The reading specialist gave a presentation on scholar data to help parents interpret academic data reports. Taking it one step further, parents had the opportunity to talk with a staff member about the current academic data reports for their scholars.

Why did you do this implementation trial?

Broad Street is in a challenging socio-economic area and our parental figures are often weighed down simply navigating the world. School data reports are overwhelming. This event made it comfortable for parents and guardians to learn and ask questions about the academic reports that the school sends home.

The dream is that our school creates a bridge that connects school, home and community. This bridge would allow for the emergence of a 21st century school community.


70% of the parents/scholars attended the event! Said a teacher, we learned that the parents do want to understand their child's academic data. They want to know what they can do to help their kids at home. They do not want the learning to cease at the end of the school day. We want to find way to empower our scholars and their families we want to add to the development of the community.

Not only do our scholars want more, the parents want it too. They [parents] want to be involved.
"I understand the process because I was educated by the school and taught how to help my son."
The scholars want to see the data and are competing to improve their results.
A culture of collaboration has been established.
Teachers have seen an improvement in attendance and in academic curiosity.
Our community partners are growing.

Learning Journey

Our Focus and Empathy Interviews
We focused on the reopening of the school and creating a positive new vibe surrounding family and school engagement. A strategic team created a mission and vision for Broad Street. Agreement emerged that a community focus was important and the empathy interview process served to extend learning. For example, a parent shared that he had hated school. It was easy to see how he might be apprehensive about his child going to school. Our task was to change mindsets about the purpose of school.
Aspirational Statement
With the reopening of our school and the need to build relationships with our families and our community, our team of parents, teachers and administrators chose this as our aspirational statement: "We will build opportunities for teamwork between families, educators, and administrators. We will all support the learning and growth of our scholars."
Hack: Data with a Twist
The informal opportunities to socialize, enjoy a meal and engage their children in STEAM activities attracted the parents to the building. The fact that they learned about performance related data was a bonus and the real goal toward changing preconceived mindsets and creating a higher standard of expectation for Broad Street. The children were active and parents were free to learn and talk with teachers, key people who respected their children as scholars.
"Parents as Allies is showing us [parents] different ideas and how parents can be involved. I would definitely say the way we are doing it now is way better because of the inclusive nature of involving parents, teachers, community." A teacher added, “It is definitely a process...we couldn't do the things we did in year two in the first year. You need to build and gain credibility with your parents and community. It is building relationships, and it is only going to help.”
What's Next
Broad Street is changing and it’s becoming the school where teachers want to work - and not flee from. The secret sauce is our culture, one that is rooted in our staff, parents and community and where all have a role. What we'd like going forward is an opportunity for collaboration — a "bridge hack" for Butler Area to connect with other districts and schools to share ideas and sustain energy. How about creating a network or a cohort that continues? Maybe create a collective hack!