We were coming out of challenging times and a divided district due to pandemic challenges. The disconnect between families and school was frustrating. We needed to engage with parents in a different way, something that built upon our district's solid academic reputation. Thinking about how their child learned best was common ground and where the RIASEC model created great alignment.
We invited our 5th grade parents to a night at the intermediate school. In advance, all parents of these students were provided the RIASEC survey to take. This would identify their top three personality types, for example, investigative/thinker, artistic/creator. At the event, parents were grouped according to like-minded results and each given a fun challenge to tackle and present to the full crowd. Seemingly, each group presented in a way that reflected their main profile from RIASEC.
After the fun activity, parents were regrouped, this time irrespective of their like-mindedness and given a real-life challenge to hack: re-designing parent pick up and drop off procedures at the school. Their quick undertaking of this task illustrated a willingness to be problem-solvers. They finished by publicly sharing their ideas.
We want to create FOMO, Fear of Missing Out, for the families who don't attend or engage...to create a buzz.
We also saw how different things can happen if we moved off campus. For our next iteration, Painting Unlocked, we intentionally moved away from school into the community and opened it up beyond the 5th grade parents.
For this trial we put lots of stuff into a “breakout box” with clues about the history of our school district. The parents and the teachers had to work together to open the breakout box to get to the supplies in the box. To follow up, the art teacher is putting together an art installation for the counseling area. It is to symbolize the power of community through creativity.
The best way to get started is passionate representation, says a parent. "Find a good team to work with and recruit to your weakness," adds an administrator. Hear from those voices that may not be typically included to increase the likelihood that what you try has been fully considered from a parent perspective. Above all, have fun!