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    Family Connectors Promote Early Literacy
    Posted on 01/07/2021
    A student sits at the desk in a classroom

    Family Connectors Promote Early Literacy

    A goal of our five year strategic plan, Seattle Excellence, is for students to read at grade level by the end of third grade, with a specific focus on students furthest from educational justice. Reading well by third grade is a critical benchmark for students. If students at or above grade level by third grade, they are more likely to be successful in other subject areas. Seattle Public Schools is proud to say that we are making strides in accomplishing this goal by creating access to culturally relevant books, focusing on kindergarten readiness, and promoting family and community engagement that is centered on reading at home and sparking the joy of reading.

    This year, at select SPS schools, Family Connectors have been hired to help promote early literacy for our students, especially those furthest from educational justice. Family connectors are school-based family engagement liaisons that are responsible for helping schools build welcoming literacy environments for families, bridging literacy instruction and practices between school and home, and elevating student voice related to literacy.

    The current Family Connectors were selected because of their existing connections with the schools’ parent and family communities and the skills to strengthen connections between home and school in the service of improved literacy outcomes. They will work with schools and teachers on strategies to connect with families of students, particularly Black and African American males and other students furthest from educational justice, to collaborate on increasing student participation, engagement, and belonging. They will also gather family feedback throughout the year and act on these ideas as a school community, as well as work in partnership with school leaders to develop project plans that are culturally relevant and specific to the needs of each school’s community.

    Family Connectors will also help strengthen relationships between families and educators and school staff by assisting with parent meetings and parent workshops in collaboration with educators. They will also coordinate with schools, family, and community leaders to promote practices that build strong reading skills both at home and school. For example, sharing literacy games or activities with families, working with educators to curate sets of culturally responsive and relevant texts, and advising on how to elevate Black Excellence in literacy. Creating strong and joyful readers is the cornerstone of this work and Family Connectors are committed to this task.

    We know students are the most successful when they have support at school, community, and home. Family Connectors are one way in which we are striving to improve our engagement practices with families and strengthen our work with community-based organizations to best support students’ love of reading and increased access to books. Thank you to our new Family Connectors for working alongside us as we usher in a new generation of joyful readers. We look forward to sharing your work and implementing your effective, creative strategies district-wide.