Educators, Parents Partner for Kids in Saginaw, MI
When many people talk about Saginaw, MI, they talk about its past. They talk about its heyday as a hub of the Midwestern manufacturing industry, when there were plenty of jobs and a strong middle class.
But thinking about the past won’t bring it back. The stark reality for Saginaw is that things have changed. Plants have closed. Jobs have become scarce. And this city that once boasted more than 100,000 residents has seen its population cut in half.
But while some may want to ponder Saginaw’s history, its schools are filled with students who are thinking about just one thing – the future. And it’s the responsibility of educators, parents and community leaders to work together to ensure those students have futures filled with opportunity.
That collaboration is on full display at Jessie Rouse Elementary School, a K-5 school that serves predominantly lower-income students. Administrators, teachers, support professionals and parents have united to implement the National Education Association’s Keys to Excellence for Your School (KEYS) program, with an eye toward making critical improvements that can help boost student achievement.
KEYS is a comprehensive, research-based, data-driven program for continuous school improvement. Developed by NEA, it is the product of a 15-year collaborative effort involving educators, school district administrators, parents, and business and community leaders.
At Jessie Rouse, a KEYS-facilitated survey uncovered problems with consistency in student assessments, and a need to dramatically improve parental engagement. Teachers, support staff and administrators worked hand-in-hand to improve the student assessment process and to improve collaboration and information sharing.
The school also renewed its emphasis on parental engagement. The school has held events ranging from chats over coffee to Christmas balls and assemblies to help parents understand that they are welcome at the school and are vital to its success. The result has been an exponential increase in parental engagement and the number of parent volunteers who help out at the school’s offices or in its classrooms.
To watch the full story on how KEYS is making a difference at Jessie Rouse, check out the video below.