The Importance of Community

These are our children.

Allen Smith on the Issues - The Importance of Community

Families fuel enrichment

A student’s education does not begin and end when class bells ring. Students will turn to their families and loved ones to help them apply what they have learned in the real world and support their quest for knowledge in parts of their lives educators cannot reach directly. The data on this is clear; family involvement in a child’s education correlates with higher academic performance and school improvement. To simply ask parents to assume a more active role is disingenuous because it ignores the fact that many working families aren’t able to engage on our terms or even meet us halfway. I believe we need to make it easier for parents to share information, discuss progress, and get involved using the time and tools that they have available.

Dialogue and discourse produce refined ideas

Far too often, it feels like major decisions affecting our children happen in a vacuum. In many cases, these decisions happen in the open but are based on feedback from surveys or reports from task forces that parents did not know about. This leads to dissension and distrust of those who are tasked with representing the interests of our families and children. I believe the tools and processes CMS has for sharing district information with the public are a good first step, but they are too one-sided. What we need is a true dialogue where productive discourse helps uncover common ground and sharpen rough ideas into actionable plans with broad support.

Everyone has a stake

These are not just your children and my children. They’re our children, and they will shape the future for all of us. Everyone has a stake in their success — parents, community groups, churches, businesses, colleges, civic institutions, and cultural organizations. I believe forging and maintaining impactful partnerships in the community is essential for student success. While CMS is currently building relationships with individuals and groups in the community, these efforts deserve more resources and greater visibility.

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