The Guiding Partnerships with Schools (GPS) Family Engagement System is an online tool to support educators and families working together to support student learning and improve school quality. GPS survey tools and reports help schools and families evaluate the quality of family-school partnerships. GPS provides guidance for schools and families so that families can become more engaged in student learning.
All families and school staff are invited to participate in a survey of school-family partnership practices in their child’s school. Based on the survey results, the school will receive ratings on the quality of family-school partnerships. Schools will convene a team of staff and families who meet to review the results of the school-family partnership self-assessment survey and work collaboratively to identify areas of opportunity and improvement. The GPS platform will support the families and staff as they collaborate to develop an action plan, a “road map”, for moving forward with the most effective family engagement and partnership strategies.
The Hartford Foundation for Public Giving has a rich history of providing both financial and direct support for schools in the area of family-school-community partnerships. For several years, HFPG has been supporting a select number of school districts in Connecticut in the implementation of research-based, high-impact strategies to partner with families in support of improved outcomes for each and every student. In the spring of 2018, HFPG approached the Capitol Region Education Council (CREC), a regional education service center in Hartford, CT, to develop a system that would accelerate this work in other school districts. With generous financial support from the foundation, CREC set about designing a robust web-based system to support schools in developing the knowledge base and skill sets of practitioners as they seek to grow relationships and form stronger connections with the families and communities they serve.
In Spring 2019, CREC enlisted educators from 11 schools throughout Connecticut to provide input on the development of the GPS platform. Representatives from these GPS Pilot Partnership Schools brought to the project rich, diverse perspectives on family engagement best-practices and effective family-school partnerships. Over the course of 6-months, the GPS Pilot Partnership School representatives assisted in the validation of the Family-School Partnership Self-Assessment, reviewed resources and additional content to be hosted in the site, and critiqued the ease of use of the platform. To make sure that the perspectives of families were also reflected in the development of GPS, Pilot Partnership School representatives invited families in their schools to review the platform and provide feedback.
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