Family League leads and supports Community Schools in the implementation of the strategy through funding, professional development, technical assistance and other supports. During the Covid-19 pandemic, Family League teams quickly adapted to support partners in the “new normal”. Beginning in March, supports and professional development shifted to the virtual space in alignment with local and state guidance for schools.
While there is evidence of significant parent and family participation in Baltimore’s community schools through volunteering, the target for this performance measure was not met. This target was likely missed as a result of schools navigating to the virtual space. Since Mid-March school buildings have been closed and volunteers have been limited (mostly to food sites). The tracking of volunteer data during this unprecedented time was limited at best. Throughout school closures, we continued to reach out to Baltimore City Schools for guidance around how to support Community School Coordinators (CSCs) with the safe and effective coordination of volunteers in a virtual space.
Research shows that academic outcomes for students improve when parents and communities work together to support schools. One way we measure family engagement is through parent involvement on school-level teams. From January - June we had 66% (or 29/44) which is below our target. During the initial shut down For FY20, we were below target on this performance measure by 1%, however, 13 schools have not completed their final reports. We will continue to reach out to partners who have not submitted this data and are hopeful that this data point will shift once we have all the information. Parents have been engaged in other ways throughout the pandemic including but not limited to participation in town halls, CEO conversations, parent meetings, surveys, focus groups etc.
We do not currently have data available for the Better Off Measures related to the parent survey and chronic absenteeism for students in grades K-8. Due to the Covid-19 Pandemic, the parent survey was not conducted this school year, so the data for #/% of CS parents that respond favorably to the 13 questions related to the Community School strategy on the School Climate Survey will not be available. We look forward to engaging parents around community school components with the launch of the FY 21 needs assessment process in the spring 2021. In addition, parents will continue to provide feedback and be engaged at the school level. Regarding the #/% of CS students in grades K-8 who are not chronically absent, our current MOU with the school district allows us to receive this data on 10/31, and we will report once we receive it. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, chronic absence is being calculated differently than previous school years. We will follow up with the data once they are made available. The school district has been working collaboratively with CSCs, staff, partners and other stakeholders to support student attendance with the shift to virtual programming. The school district has acknowledged the need for additional technology and internet access for many students and families.