Home-school collaboration (HSC) in the RISE project goes well beyond home extension activities. We seek to bring children’s out-of-school contexts into classrooms by supporting non-hierarchical partnerships and reciprocal dialogue between parents and teachers. By facilitating respectful two-way relationships, our teachers come to understand and support families’ unique contributions to their children’s learning. In this view of family engagement, the home-to-school flow of information is just as important as the school-to home flow of information.
To support learning with and from each other, the RISE approach involves three types of activities:
- CULTIVATING a small group of PARENT LEADERS and COMMUNITY EXPERTS who serve as guides for understanding family and community life, as well as how best to connect with other parents;
- JOINT PARENT-TEACHER ACTIVITIES focuses on STE concepts, classroom curriculum and children’s everyday lives;
- PARENT-TEACHER DISCUSSION (PTD) GROUPS, which have a two-fold purpose: (1) for teachers to be able to access information about home/family routines and expertise; to feel connected to their students’ home lives and families’ funds of knowledge to support their teaching. (2) For families to realize they have something critical to contribute to the curriculum; to feel valued for their expertise and connected to their children’s learning despite any language, logistical, and cultural barriers that might prevent traditional “engagement” activities.