I don’t know if you have ever noticed this, but first impressions are often entirely wrong. You can assume that things will be a certain way, but the more you communicate, ask questions, listen, and observe, the more depth and understanding you will gain. Your initial opinion on just about anything may change over time and that is why it is important to take time to gain an understanding.
My first few weeks as a Denver Public Schools AmeriCorps member were very interesting as my role transitioned from a Student Engagement Advocate to a Parent Outreach Liaison and it was exciting, to say the least. Providing parents with information on how to have their voices heard and participating in the Superintendent Parent Forum events is a key aspect of my duties.
As a parent myself, I feel as though being an Outreach Liaison is a very important role. It is important to attend the Superintendent Parent Forums because it gives parents an opportunity to speak up about what they feel may or may not work for our children. The old saying, “It takes a village to raise a child” is certainly one that plays a huge part in my role for connecting community partners to parents and parents to Denver Public Schools.
As an AmeriCorps member, it allows me the opportunity to encourage other parents to be present in the community, gain an understanding, and engage in their student’s education. It is important to have an open mind on what it means to be a Parent Outreach Liaison. We are all here to accomplish the same goals, which are to increase student attendance, strengthen the local community, educate parents on how to educate their children and themselves, build partnerships with community organizations, and create partners within our communities.
My belief is that Family and Community Engagement is very important because it allows us an opportunity to combine academics and community partnerships. Currently, one partnership that Family and Community Engagement School Based are currently leveraging is Energy Outreach Colorado. We ask that parents and families attend our Parent Engagement Guide training, which outlines the education of a child all the way from early childhood education until high school completion. After the training is completed, parents and families of students have the ability to sit down with a member of the Family and Community Engagement team to discuss eligibility for energy assistance through the partnership, which allows energy bills to be paid up to a certain amount.
Family engagement is a top priority and I want students to excel academically as well. I encourage everyone to seek out the opportunities that we have available and appreciate the participation of our community partners, families, staff, and students. I am eager to strengthen our partnerships, build onto our communities, establishing positive relationships and connect our families with resources for their specific needs.
– Sierra Williams, AmeriCorps member