“Family engagement is a practice—not just a one-off program,” Sydney Holman, Program Manager of SPS’ Family Partnerships Team, states. Together, the Seattle Housing Authority, SPS Family Partnerships, and the Learning for Equity Network (LEN) are teaming up to build a group of families leaders to create more math connections between schools and communities. To begin that journey, the team is constantly considering the needs, interests, and barriers that families face in education.
By centering family voice throughout the process, the team evolves and tailors the program as participants contribute and drive the direction and focus. “We’ve acknowledged the context from which we’re doing this work,” Marques Gittens, Education and Youth Development Manager for the Seattle Housing Authority, adds. “Historical oppression has excluded families furthest away from educational justice and students from being autonomous and having a say in the educational process.”
The team plans to engage with parents and scholars—to imagine and reimagine the roles that families can play in creating math environments that start with students’ identity and culture. “So much happens outside of school from the family perspective, that the opportunity for families to support each other and share their skills, knowledge, successes, and challenges may have a much larger impact,” says Gittens.
“Co-design really is the heart of our program,” explains Alfe Wood, Family Engagement Lead for LEN. The goal of this program is to brainstorm ways to inspire children to have fun with math, co-design materials that are culturally relevant so students can continue to learn math at home and school.
The team is excited to work with families within this leadership role, where all can share their culture and experiences with math, and all are teachers and learners at the same time.
If you are interested in being a part of the family program or want to learn more, visit our families page.