SPRINGFIELD — Springfield Public Schools was awarded $10,000 as part of the Strengthening Family-School Partnership Grant.

Given through the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, this grant aims to assist school districts with creating stronger involvement from families. While the schools were officially awarded $20,000 from this grant, the funds are being evenly split between Springfield Public Schools and the Springfield Empowerment Zone Partnership, Chief of Family and Community Engagement Jose Escribano told Reminder Publishing. As a result, Springfield Public Schools will only receive $10,000.

With these funds, the Springfield Family and Community Engagement Department is working with the New North Citizens’ Council to gather recommendations from parents, teachers, the administration and community members on how to improve family engagement, Escribano said. Specifically, they will focus on collecting recommendations that concern Lincoln Elementary School.

From this information, the group will create a model of how to identify and improve areas of need, Escribano said. Once created, each school in the department will then use this model to target a unique need in its community.

“We know from research that where families are involved, students do better,” Escribano said, highlighting the importance of increasing family engagement. He emphasized that the grant’s support was “about the learning process” of locating strategies through the state’s family engagement framework and “evidence-based research.”

The School Department decided to apply for the grant after community members vocalized that they wanted more family engagement. Yet, Springfield Public Schools’ push toward more family engagement is similar to a “general move in the state” to involve more parents, Escribano said, stating that DESE and other organizations have begun to emphasize family involvement more in recent years.

Beyond this grant, Springfield Public Schools is currently working to increase family engagement through the use of family liaisons and multiple events. This includes the Family Education Expo, which hosts nearly 100 organizations as well as workshops and live performances, Escribano said. This year’s expo will occur on May 4.

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