Yes, yes, it is idealistic. Yet apparently parental engagement works in public education. There’s plenty of research to back that up (see the Flamboyen Foundation) and now a local is doing pilots here in the Bay State.
Likely we all remember John Connolly as the nearly Boston Mayor in the last election. Yet, he did not fall into thinking about what almost was, nor did he retreat into lawyering or running for City Council or some other office. Instead, he connected with Chris Gabrieli for space to start his 1647 pilot program.
He and I spoke for half an hour on what they are doing in Salem, how they intend to expand, what the obstacles have been, and what benefits the engagement process produces.
For those who like cutting to the chase:
- Parents, teachers and students are all wary of home visits but quickly get with the program.
- Teachers need bribes, a.k.a. incentives such as professional credits or small amounts of cash, to add this to their workloads.
- This works where the principal/headmaster doesn’t fight it.
- Trust is the whole game. When parents accept that teachers really want to know how their kids learn, they open up.
Listen in below as Connolly speaks about training the teachers and particularly the benefits to all concerned.
We did not get into and I don’t know whether Connolly can answer how scalable this process is. We touched on how teachers are used to 20 or 25 or 30 students at a time. This one-on-one is not the norm. Connolly is convinced and sees in the pilot that parental engagement pays terrific benefits.
I for one would love to see whether Boston’s new schools superintendent will be receptive to this. That new tenure should coincide with 1647’s maturity in expanding.