By Brenda Vatthauer, Principal, Hutchinson Middle School
We are living in a very different world from the way we knew education three years ago. There is fear of the unknown, a lack of trust in our societal system and many judgments placed on our educators. As we lead into the final weeks of the school year, it is healthy to reflect and learn from the past two COVID years as well as vision forward to next fall. It is certain that our middle school, with the students in the center of our work, would benefit if we prioritized reinvesting with our families. With this commitment, families and staff need to work as a team, learning about our combined challenges, and unite together to problem solve barriers and support students. It takes a true partnership of parents and school staff working together to improve learning, support adolescent development and the health of middle school students. Stronger partnerships should be a shared responsibility in which schools are reaching out to engage parents in various ways and parents are committed to actively supporting their son/daughter during the middle school years. This is a critical time in adolescent lives where a supportive “partnership” between home and school is essential. Research shows that parent engagement and partnership in schools is closely linked to better student behavior, higher academic achievement and enhanced social skills.
Starting the 2022-23 school year, HMS plans to emphasize parent involvement by providing a variety of activities and frequent occasions to fully involve parents. This will include:
- Parent support – focusing on sharing information with parents to help parents improve their child’s learning and to identify and develop social and emotional skills for students to be successful.
- Parent Camps – parents involved in discussion around topics of interest to them.
- Book studies – Middle School Matters by Phyllis Fagell and Fourteen Talks by Age Fourteen by Michelle Icard.
- Increased communication – we are looking for ways to maintain two-way communication between families and the school.
- Encouraging parents to be part of decision making in our middle school in collaboration with the community.
Developing a stronger parent/school partnership is a necessary variable in the equation of student success. This includes shared beliefs, values and attitudes. If we expect students to do their personal best each day, we need to do our part to develop a stronger partnership between parents and school. Thanks to all the parents for your support this year and we look forward to building a stronger network next fall.