Who Is In Your Village?

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Traditionally, when we think about schools and family involvement, we picture “moms.” Moms getting their children up in the morning, fixing lunches, and walking children to school. Moms helping with homework, going to parent-teacher conferences and volunteering at school. This vision makes sense, given that at one point in our society, mothers were the primary caregivers and school volunteers. However, our society has changed and so have moms.

We know that children thrive when they have adults caring for them and supporting their education. And adults are stronger when they have each other to support them in raising their children. Mothers and fathers, step-parents, older siblings, aunts, uncles, foster and adoptive parents, grandparents, family friends, and neighbors all pitch in to ensure the most positive outcomes for children. It truly takes a village to raise a child to reach his or her potential.

As research has shown for decades, and continually supports, parent involvement in schools is a crucial factor in children’s academic success. The shift from “parent involvement” to “family engagement” acknowledges that the reality of who is “parenting” a child is broadening and there needs to be more meaningful input and dialogue between schools and families.