After elementary school, parental and community involvement takes a dive. How to improve the middle school experience during this critical time?
Parents know they should be involved in their kids' education during elementary school, but as kids get older, parents become less engaged. The dropoff is greatest for the overlooked middle schools—even their names denote this neither-here-nor-there mentality. How to increase parental and community involvement during this extremely critical time for students? At GOOD Ideas for Cities RVA, the Kids Lead, Parents Follow team proposed several changes to the way parents think about middle school, and education in general. From eliminating middle school as a concept entirely and making all primary schools K-8, to creating a mentorship program that engages both elementary and high school students as advisers to middle schoolers. The team encouraged parents to ignore the imagined boundaries—school districts, grade divisions—and listen to their kids.
Challenge: There are some vibrant elementary schools in the City of Richmond. However, middle schools can be another story. Some parents send their children to private schools starting in middle school and other parents stop showing up. The community is often more interested in volunteering in elementary schools or high schools. How can we keep the community involved with the goal of improving our city's middle schools?
Harold Fitrer, President/CEO, Communities In Schools Richmond
Kids Lead, Parents Follow: April Johnson, Lisa Taranto, Peter Fraser, Camden Whitehead, Mimi Sadler, Dean Browell, Emily Griffey, Dominic Barrett, Emma Terray Spivack, Peyton Rowe, Trina Lambert, R. Vincent Alfaro, Rachel Kopelovich Douglas, Shannon Williams, Elizabeth Hailand, Stephen Curtis Clark, Sara Dunnigan
To learn more about this idea contact peter[at]fraserdesignassociates[dot]com
Video by Patrick Gregory
GOOD Ideas for Cities pairs creative problem-solvers with real urban challenges proposed by civic leaders. To learn more visit good.is/ideasforcities. Watch more videos of recent GOOD Ideas for Cities events, and if you'd like to talk about bringing the program to your city or school, email alissa[at]goodinc[dot]com or follow us at @IdeasforCities