Introducing 4FAMS: A new resource to help parents better understand, appreciate, and engage with their child’s school
Romy Drucker and Steve Snyder | April 23, 2018
Although America’s children spend most of their days in classrooms, many of their parents find our school systems surprisingly intimidating.
Between issues of curriculum and assessments, of equity and choice, of discipline and technology, and of career training and soft skills, the conversations about designing, monitoring, and perfecting classroom learning can quickly become so complex that they are all but impenetrable for your average mom or dad.
But that wall needs to come down — and soon.
With the Every Student Succeeds Act set to scale back the federal role in education next school year, states and districts will soon have greater authority and autonomy to implement more localized, customized approaches to education. And as that power slides back from Washington, D.C., families will arguably have more influence than ever before over the decisions of their local school boards.
Here at LA School Report — and at our sister site The74Million.org — it has always been our goal to empower parents to engage in this dialogue and debate. And it all starts with decoding, translating, and then explaining education issues and information so that average families can understand the language and the stakes.
As a staff of moms, dads, uncles, aunts, and cousins — as former teachers, administrators, school board members, and tutors — we have always followed this directive in our approach to asking questions, writing headlines, designing our user experience, and much more. Yet too few researched-based resources exist to empower families with basic information, definitions, and explanations about key topics in education.
That’s why today, we’re thrilled to announce the launch of 4Fams — a new channel specifically designed for our growing audience of families who want to better understand their school system. Through a mix of articles, commentary, research analysis, first-person essays, and rapid-fire explainer videos (in both English and Spanish), 4Fams will make it easier for parents to search and share our resources. As educators, school leaders, and district administrators design new approaches to family engagement under ESSA, our hope is that these 4Fams resources can better equip parents to participate.
We hope you’ll bookmark 4Fams right here, and that you’ll make the channel part of your daily reading list.
Here are some of today’s notable explainer videos:
- What the heck is ‘Personalized Learning’ anyway? (Watch here)
- Reinforcing a ‘Growth Mindset’ — when students believe their abilities can be developed through hard work (Watch here)
- Combating ‘Summer Slide’ — the “brain drain” that students may experience over the summer months (Watch here)
- What is (and isn’t) ‘Project-based Learning’? (Watch here)
- ‘Design-Based Learning’ — design thinking and creative problem-solving (Watch here)
- How should we be talking about ‘College Readiness’? (Watch here)
And some of today’s noteworthy essays from parent contributors:
- Beth Hawkins: Falling into the belief gap — What it feels like to realize your child’s teachers have sized him up and dumbed down their estimations
- Erika Sanzi: Pondering tough questions about what gun-free zones mean for student safety
- Conor Williams: 8 tips on reading to your kids — A comforting constant in a time of parenting high anxiety
- Bibb Hubbard: 4 steps toward helping your child get ready for the big state test
- Tana Monteiro: Politics change, neighbors don’t — How parents in Richmond are bridging the false district-charter divide
- Gail Cornwall: I wrote an open letter about revamping homework, and it seriously worked
See more essays, videos, explainers, and more at The74Million.org/4Fams.
This article was produced in partnership with The74Million.org