“Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.” Galatians 6:9. The Harvest is Coming is a chapter in Dr. Femi Skanes’s book, Encouragement for The School Leader’s Soul. You can purchase a copy on Amazon! Connect with her at:
Dr. Skane is a Principal in Chicago, Illinois, and one of the breakout session speakers provided at the Illinois Principal Conference this year. She held two sessions which were both excellent. My favorite one to help all leaders was her session on Family Engagement Reimagined.
If you follow the news and politics, you know parent involvement and engagement are the centers of conversations. I say amen! Education should always be a priority for everyone. If you noticed, I used two words, involvement and engagement. Why? Great question! There is a difference between the two and you need both!
When we discuss the involvement of parents and families, we mean “doing to” them. While engagement indicates “doing with” families as they bring ideas, thoughts, and actions to collaborate. Let’s look at a couple of examples to see if you can see the difference.
We ask parents to come to school for a meeting. During the meeting, we ask parents to look at the new reading books we received. Please read with your child each week and track it in the reading log.
Is that involvement or engagement?
Parents and families are invited to come to our “New Reading Night” to highlight our new reading books. We will be looking at fresh ideas of ways to explore, excite and engage all students. Hope to see you there with great ideas to share!
Is this involvement or engagement?
Parents need to be involved and engaged with your school. You share the same goals and wants for the children. You accepted the position you hold because you want to bring out the best in all you serve. This includes your families and communities.
We are leading into a time of fatigue for educators if we have not already reached it. However, we must not lose sight of the fantastic harvest heading our way because of our collective efforts. We will, we are, and we remain the core of what makes America. Without education, you would not have a well-structured home to live in, roads to travel on, grocery stores to go to, doctors to visit, churches to attend, and so much more. All because of education.
The school year is almost half over, and many students will begin new chapters in their book of life in which you helped with many of the pages. Take some time for yourself and help staff as much as possible to make the second half of the school year unforgettable. Bring a sense of stability to the world of uncertainty as leadership continues to have different views. Take time to plan, have a strategy, have a welcoming environment inside and out, provide and ask for feedback, take action on the information you receive, develop partnerships, network, and most importantly, bring FUN to all you do.
The first question above is involvement, and the second is engagement. It is simple to remember by doing to or doing with individuals; they are involved or engaged. You will find the same philosophy in my approach to all I do in my book Two Rule School.