ellis-chrisby Chris Ellis
Community Collaborations Director

Increasing parent engagement is a key contributor to academic success for all students, and a goal of many of our Community Schools. Schools in South Salt Lake, along with numerous dedicated partners, have been committed to determining how to increase parent engagement. Recently in South Salt Lake, a group of Community Schools, parents, and various partner organizations, formed the South Salt Lake Parent Engagement Committee, and have been engaged in regular conversations regarding this issue and how it impacts academic outcomes of students in the community.

The goal of this committee is to work together applying Collective Impact principles to develop a definition for parent engagement, identify priorities, and ultimately utilizing existing strategies (or develop new ones) to improve this measure.  At the first meeting, group members collaboratively defined parent engagement in South Salt Lake as:

“Empowering parents, supporting schools, and integrating community to improve academic outcomes, high school graduation, and post-secondary attainment for all students within South Salt Lake Community Schools.”

This definition determined a specific direction to identify and consider existing resources. After defining “parent engagement,” the Committee prioritized Joyce Epstein’s Six Types of Parent Engagement. These types were prioritized based on the needs of the community of South Salt Lake and they chose to focus on addressing the following types of parental involvement: Communicating, Learning at Home, and Collaborating with the Community.

The Salt Lake Parent Engagement Committee has made tremendous progress in a short amount of time to address parent engagement in South Salt Lake, and we are excited to see their work continue to identify strategies that can increase this measure. Parent engagement can look different from community to community and household to household – but there is no doubt that parent engagement is critically important to the success of students and schools. Particularly in South Salt Lake, where there is a rich diversity of families, parent engagement is key to sharing that richness cross-culturally for the benefit of the entire community. Committee members will continue to support this measure in South Salt Lake and give families the resources and tools necessary to engage in each students’ education.