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Toombs Schools Family Engagement Team

Toombs County District Family Engagement Team – (L to R, Front): Tilly Christian (TCHS teacher), Areli Perez (LPS teacher), Lorena Cervantes (TCES parent), Ann Murphy (LUES teacher); (Back): Barry Waller (Superintendent), TJ Mercer (TCMS Asst. Principal), Destiny Levant (TCES Principal), Chris Bell (LPS Principal), Tabatha Nobles (LUES Principal), Rhonda Benton (Family Engagement Coordinator) Marissa Morris (TCHS Principal), Dana Burton (TCMS teacher), Latasha Burton (TCMS & TCHS parent), and Terri Butler (TCMS & TCHS parent). Not Pictured: Sonia Ascencio (TCES parent), Brooke Davis (TCES parent), Angelica Martinez (LPS & TCHS parent) Dr. Renee Garbutt (TCMS Principal), Michelle Rhodes (TCES teacher), Candace Williams (LPS & LUES parent)

What is Family Engagement in our schools? Parent and Family Engagement is an ongoing process that increases active participation, communication, and collaboration between parents, schools, and communities with the goal of educating the whole child to ensure student achievement and success.

Toombs County Schools’ District Family Engagement Team met on Wednesday, January 26, to have an informal, small group discussion on how to improve their partnership between homes and schools. One of the first steps in doing this is to build good, positive relationships. A small step forward took place at this joint meeting. Parents, teachers, and administrators came to the table and opened up about what they all are doing right and what they need to improve in order for the students to receive the best education possible.

There are several barriers to family engagement in today’s society at home and at school: fear, isolation, assumption, values, and attitudes. Toombs Schools are going to have to build trust between home and schools. They start building by coming to the table and discussing issues that will break down these barriers. Small group discussions seem to be working as participants feel more comfortable to share their ideas and concerns in this setting.

Georgia Department of Education’s Family-School Partnership Program believes that parents, schools, families, and communities working together can create meaningful partnerships that ultimately lead to significant gains across the board in student achievement.

There are six National PTA standards that they are using to guide Toombs County Schools through this ongoing process of building better relationships between homes and schools: Welcoming All Families, Communicating Effectively, Supporting Student Success, Speaking Up for Every Child, Sharing Power, and Collaborating with Community.

It was discussed and decided by our family engagement team that we would tackle communicating effectively to be our number one priority and welcoming all families as our number two priority. If we can improve on these two top standards, the other standards will follow suit.

When everyone works together – students, parents, families, educators, and community stakeholders – we all win! It does “take a village” to mold our future to become better.

Toombs County Schools are always working toward “Excellence for ALL” and “Believe in Every Child Every Day.”

Along with the Family Engagement Team, other groups of Toombs County School System employees met to discuss how they can work toward helping to meet these goals.

The Toombs County Schools’ receptionists met earlier in the school year to discuss ways on how they can better welcome all families into their schools.

Toombs County School Counselors also met earlier in the school year with Leigh-Anne White (Leigh-Anne White & Co.) to look for strategies to support the students’ lives by speaking up for every child, and collaborating with their community stakeholders.

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