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Beyond Clients and Boundaries: The Importance of Family and Community Engagement in Service Work

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Stephany Cuevas, EdM Presentation at 2016 Science of HOPE

In this session, participants will be introduced to family and community engagement research in order to begin to interrogate why we need to partner with families and communities in service work.

Participants will be exposed to different narratives and perspectives about families and communities and will be engaged in conversations about how to push beyond deficit thinking and stereotypes, which often deter partnership opportunities. Additionally, participants will be introduced to frameworks, including research-based best practices, which allow us to understand how to do partnership work in a mutually benefiting and respectful matter.

Published in: Government & Nonprofit
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Beyond Clients and Boundaries: The Importance of Family and Community Engagement in Service Work

  1. 1. Beyond Clients and Boundaries: The Importance of Family and Community Engagement in Service Work Stephany Cuevas, Ed.M. Harvard University @estefa_nee
  2. 2. Today’s Session Family and Community Engagement 101 Barriers to Engagement Power of Partnerships and Organizing Discussion and Q&A
  3. 3. Family and Community Engagement 101
  4. 4. What do we mean by “family engagement”? Family engagement is any way that a child’s adult caretaker (biological parents, foster parents. siblings, grandparents, etc.) effectively supports learning and healthy development.
  5. 5. Involvement vs. Engagement The latin root of the word "involvement" is “involvere” which means to wrap around, cover or envelop; roll, cause to roll. The latin root of the word "engagement" is “engare” which means to make a formal agreement, to contract with; to pledge; an obligation to do something. (Mapp, 2012)
  6. 6. Families are engaged as: •Supporters  of  their  children’s  learning   •Encouragers  of  an  achievement  iden3ty,  a  posi3ve  self  image,  and  a  “can  do”  spirit   •Monitors  of  their  children’s  3me,  behavior,  boundaries  and  resources     •Models  of  lifelong  learning  and  enthusiasm  for  educa3on   •Advocates  for  improved  learning  opportuni3es  for  their  children  and  at  their  schools   •Decision-­‐makers/choosers  of  educa3onal  op3ons  for  their  child,  the  school,  and   community   •Collaborators  with  school  staff  and  members  of  the  community     (Mapp, 2012)
  7. 7. Ecological Model Bronfenbrenner, 1979
  8. 8. Barriers to Family Engagement Low-income parents, parents of color, and immigrant parents face different barriers in their engagement (Holcomb-McCoy, 2010; Fordham, 1996; Gándara, 1995; Savitz-Romer, 2012; Suarez-Orozco, Suarez-Orozco, & Todorova, 2008; Zarate et al., 2011) Lack of knowledge of process Underresourced schools Distrusting relationships with schools Language barriers Unfamiliarity with American society and education system
  9. 9. Redefining Family Engagement: Responses to Barriers High academic expectations Encourage students to seek out resources (e.g. college access programs) Share own personal stories of hardships and immigration Have explicit conversations dreams and aspirations Convey the importance of hard work and education (Ceja,  2004;  Delgado-­‐Gaitan,  1994;  Lopez,  2001;  Savitz-­‐Romer  &  Bouffard,  2012;  Yosso,  2005;  Zarate  et  al.,  2011)  
  10. 10. Funds of Knowledge (Moll, Amanti, Neff, & Gonzalez, 2001, p.133) “The historically accumulated and culturally developed bodies of knowledge and skills essential for household or individual functioning and well-being.”
  11. 11. “Service systems require clients and community organizations require citizens. Thats is why service systems are often antithetical to powerful communities. Systems are hierarchical and not democratic. They harness people’s power to execute the plan of a central authority. Community organizations are the vehicles that harness the potential power of the citizens to create and execute their own plan. Citizens make power by coming together and take power by acting together on issues (McKnight, 1991, p. 41).”
  12. 12. Are services are bad for people?
  13. 13. Relationships Relational trust Shared power
  14. 14. A Match on Dry Grass Mark K. Warren, Karen L. Mapp, and the Community Organizing and School Reform Project
  15. 15. Mark Warren, Karen Mapp & 15 doctoral students, Harvard Graduate School of Education 4-year, 6-site qualitative study of CO efforts in school reform, focusing on processes and strategies - Northwest Bronx Community & Clergy Coalition – NYC - Southern Echo – Mississippi Delta - PACT – San Jose (PICO) - One LA-IAF in Los Angeles - LSNA – Chicago - Padres y Jovenes Unidos – Denver
  16. 16. The Roots - Strong organizing has deep roots in tradition - Organizing vs. mobilizing - Drawing on collective values and extant ties - Engage values and interests into action
  17. 17. The Trunk - The core processes of organizing - Build new relationships and expand identities - Relationships for long term change versus silver bullet or top- down reform
  18. 18. The Environment - Organizers’ sensitivity to local experiences, needs, knowledge - Availability of allies (e.g., alliances with educators)
  19. 19. The Leaves - The effects of organizing - Transformational change versus transactional change - Transformation at 3 levels: individuals, community, and institutional
  20. 20. It is critical, therefore, that we distinguish between creative conflict and negative dissonance between family and school. The former is inevitable in changing society and adaptive to the development and socialization of children. The latter is dysfunctional to child growth and acculturation and degrading to families, communities, and culture. Educational practitioners, who are daily engaged in trying to shape and clarify their relationship with parents and community, must especially learn to discern the positive and negative faces of conflict.- Sarah Lawrence-Lightfoot
  21. 21. Thank you! CONTACT INFORMATION Stephany Cuevas stc656@mail.harvard.edu

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