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Unite and Ignite!

Comfortable, shared experiences encourage CommUnity

We learned from parents that creating new and/or easier lines of communication between home and school is a big need. Our Parents as Allies team saw the opportunity to involve more voices, grow partnerships and collaboration through an adult-only event focused on fun and engaging ways to meet one another and grow connections among members of our shared school community. The goal is “CommUnity.”


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

Web presence






Target group
January 2024
Solid communication between home and school is what we're after. We tried a new approach to ignite that experiment. It worked, but not as well as we had hoped. The lesson for all is to keep trying and building upon what happens. Perseverance and resilience are key.

About the innovation

Why did you create this innovation?

We wanted to identify new ways that school and parents could work together to address mutual concerns. Parents often problem-solve in ways not known to the teacher or school. Knowing this, our team focused on how better to merge our efforts. We hoped that our hack would encourage parents to share concerns that we might not otherwise hear.

What does your innovation look like in practice?

Several themes had emerged from our team’s early empathy interviews, from follow-up conversations and the mini hack: communication, engagement, involvement, trust and belonging. Our event, “Unite and Ignite,” was inspired by these core ideas. On behalf of the school district, the Parents as Allies team marked a significant milestone by hosting the district’s very first parent engagement event. Guests were treated to live music, a delicious taco bar, childcare services that freed up the parents, s'mores by multiple fire pits, and the chance to win great prizes. Each activity/opportunity was intended to encourage time for one-to-one conversation.
The event was not only a relaxing evening out for parents but also a testament to the collaborative efforts of the Parents as Allies team. This exciting occasion drew a diverse and enthusiastic audience, showcasing the commitment of the district to foster stronger connections among families, educators, administrators, and students.

How has it been spreading?

Exciting evidence of spread is E.M.B.R.A.C.E. (Engage beyond Parents as Allies, Bridge Relationships and Create Enriching Experiences). This new, bigger, team was created to support and maintain momentum. Members had worked with newly arrived families and helped by conducting extra empathy interviews with immigrant students, and making other contributions. The group is focused on “embracing” community events and opportunities, future programming and growth and networking and partnerships.

The first goal of E.M.B.R.A.C.E. is designing the “Journey of a Highlander:” the goals and competencies of each learner as they navigate their educational careers in our district. Contributors to this group include parents, community, teachers, administration and board members, numbering 50-60 members.

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

It was work by a committed team of people in our district that represented both home and school that helped us get a much better feel for the concerns of our parents, and how we could connect more to improve conditions for all. The team’s empathy interviews also provided good food for thought because each interviewer gained the perspective of someone in a different role.

Spread of the innovation

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