Dear Bellevue School District Community,
Throughout this year I have been sharing with our learning community about our 2018–2023 Strategic Plan. The purpose of these monthly messages has been to let you know about our progress toward meeting our priorities and our vision to support each and every student.
One of our priorities in the strategic plan is Family & Community. We are establishing a long-term path toward strengthening relationships, improving communication, and ensuring that we offer the resources and services to match all our families’ needs. It is our goal to learn from the many examples of family engagement from our Parent Teacher Student Association Council (PTSA) and our many school PTSAs. On April 28 and 29, the Washington State PTA presented its annual awards, with our PTSA Council and school PTSAs receiving 24 awards. We also know we need to deepen our understanding of our families’ perspectives and needs. Our priority around family and community brings us right back to where the Strategic Plan started, namely, with engaging stakeholders in conversations about how we can work together as collaborative partners to realize a shared vision of family engagement and support.
In order to support our families, we currently have 13 Family Connection Centers serving all 29 of our schools. The family engagement specialists who staff these centers served approximately 5,500 families in the 2017–2018 school year. They provide clothing, school supplies, and meals; make referrals for health, mental health, and other services; and connect our families with over 20 community organizations that can help meet their needs. Few school systems have a network of support for families that rivals ours; however, we know that there is more that we can do and learn.
One aspect of family engagement is meeting families’ basic needs. Another is ensuring that families feel empowered to contribute as partners in advocating for equity, access, and results, not only for their own child, but for their entire school community and the district overall. Gaining ground on the family and community priority of the Strategic Plan is critical; the impacts will be far reaching and will help us make progress with all the other priorities in the plan. As a district, we know that, by working together with our families, we can accomplish far more than we could alone.
Bellevue School District