Connected students and families don’t attend and partner with “the” school–they do so with “their” school. They aren’t guests who meet, exceed, or fall short of someone else’s expectations, but rather, architects of environments that reflect what is important to them.
When our students and their families consider the connections they have with their school, what do they see? If the answer doesn’t include an abundance of their voice, input, and influence, then we are missing an essential opportunity.
Relationships that are one-way are not productive for students, families, or ultimately, any school or organization. We don’t stay engaged in relationships that don’t allow us to contribute to them in meaningful ways. So how can administrators, teachers, school staff, students, and families get to that place?
Start ensuring a two-way relationship by broadening the lens. Even the most time-tested data points have their limitations. Let’s trust our eyes and allow ourselves to see the strengths students bring to the table. Watch them play. Step back. Do they collaborate, create, adjudicate, advocate, and resolve?