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Fall Festival

Aligning parent engagement interests with school-based opportunity

As the second Parents as Allies school team in our district, we aspired to relationships between our staff and parents and opportunities for teamwork. We also wanted to know what parents were specifically looking for from the school. Empathy interviews and a spring hack helped us learn that our parents really wanted to be involved. That led to design of a better way to understand parent interests.


Information on this page is provided by the innovator and has not been evaluated by HundrED.

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Target group
January 2024
You may not understand what you signed up for [with family and school engagement] or how it is going to turn into anything of real value…but if you hold on, you will be surprised and your school will benefit,” says the team parent co-lead. If you can work through the unexpected bits and the hardships, it’s worth it. It’s worth it to your school. It’s worth it to the relationships that you make.

About the innovation

Why did you create this innovation?

In response to our mini-hack survey, we understood that parents wanted to be more involved in our school. To find different ways for parents to be involved, we organized the Fall Festival to draw parents to our building and to find out how they desired to be more active participants in our school community.

What does your innovation look like in practice?

The Fall Festival was a two-hour evening event hosted at the school. There were many activities for parents and kids that encouraged fun together alongside other features like food and prizes.

One of our big goals was to learn about the interests of parents for engagement and a station was designed for data collection and conversations. We had incentives for the children of parents who answered the questions and prizes for completing the survey. Now we can pull a team together using the directory! As we saw it, the night was a win-win. The team gained valuable input from parents about their interests and parents and students had a great night of fun. The parent co-lead and her team were enthusiastic and supportive and that made a difference too. They encouraged parents to see that they had something to offer the school. This seemed to contribute to an air of excitement that we could all feel.

How has it been spreading?

Perhaps the best evidence of spread is that our Parents as Allies team exists, the second one from our school district. We are intent on building relationships and trust with the families in our district.

The database created in our fall hack will be shared with teachers, staff, and our PTO when student, classroom and school support is needed. Our data collection survey will be a living document and used at future events including kindergarten registration and orientation. We will also intentionally create opportunities for our school community based on the data we created.

If I want to try it, what should I do?

Build a school team that is multi-faceted. We had a classroom teacher, a reading specialist and a librarian. Equally important is the involvement of parents. Collaboration between teachers and parents is the ideal but sometimes a challenge because teachers and parents are all busy people. Establishing and revisiting your lines of communication helps to keep everyone up to date and connected.

Spread of the innovation

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