Hartford Public Schools District Receives $380,000 Grant from Hartford Foundation to Support Family and School Community Partnership Efforts
Across the nation, educators are placing greater emphasis on finding ways to authentically engage families and surrounding school communities in the support and expansion of educational opportunities for students.
Thanks to a recent $380,000, one-year grant from the Hartford Foundation for Public Giving, educators at Hartford Public Schools will have an enhanced opportunity to further this commitment, supporting student learning and successful outcomes at school.
Funding from this grant will allow the Hartford district to: develop new expectations for family and community partnership across all departments, create a new staff structure to support effective family engagement and partnership at the district and school levels, and have an increased capacity to effectively engage families and the communities that surround Hartford’s schools to learn from one another and work in genuine partnership. The total cost to implement Hartford Public Schools’ districtwide family, school, and community partnership efforts will be met with funding from the Hartford Board of Education, the State Department of Education, and other grants in addition to those provided by the Hartford Foundation. “On behalf of our students, families and staff, I want to thank the Hartford Foundation for Public Giving for this generous grant funding. Building a strong suite of engagement practices and structures as essential elements of all the services provided in our schools is one of my key goals as leader of this learning community,” said Superintendent Leslie Torres-Rodriguez. “This funding will secure the development of positive relationships through effective community engagement and communication, which in turn will help us improve on identifying need and making better use of all available resources.”
The Hartford Foundation grant to the school district will primarily support project personnel, staff and partner training, related contract services, and family and community engagement activities. In particular, the grant provides the district with funding for a leadership staff position with the capacity to bring coordination, coherence and accountability to its many family and community engagement efforts. This increased coordination is made all the more critical in the context of Hartford Public Schools’ planned reconfiguration and consolidation of schools, a district redesign in which Dr. Torres-Rodriguez wants to engage families and the broader community to the fullest extent possible. A first phase of work includes the assessment and analysis of the district’s current family and community partnership practices, staffing structures and policies.
“This truly is what the Hartford Foundation’s investments in education are all about,” said Sara Sneed, the Hartford Foundation’s director of education investments. “With this grant, Hartford Public Schools will engage its entire community in supporting student success. We know that every child needs a variety of supports provided both within and outside of school if all are to enter school prepared to learn and graduate from school prepared to succeed.”
The district has also identified a need for support in addressing the following challenges with this grant:
• engaging families and community partners in ways that advance student achievement, promote relationship building in ways that are equitable and culturally responsive
• ensuring that the district is connected with and responsive to all stakeholders (including all ethnic cultures, special populations, as well as government, legislative, and corporate stakeholders)
• building two-way communications systems with families for timely, respectful and responsive messaging
• Aligning family and building community partnerships with the achievement of key student and school performance indicators and desired systemic improvements
• empowering and supporting families of students with disabilities;
• enhancing communication with non-English speakers and immigrant families;
• increasing parent representation on school governance councils and in the district budgeting process.
The Hartford Foundation for Public Giving is the community foundation for Hartford and 28 surrounding communities. Made possible by the gifts of generous individuals, families and organizations, the Foundation has awarded grants of more than $700 million since its founding in 1925. For more information about the Hartford Foundation for Public Giving, visit www.hfpg.org or call 860-548-1888.
(Article originally published In The Hartford Courant’s Courant Community, February 26, 2018.)