Sharing the Importance of Student and Family Engagement with DC Special Education Teachers
Providing teachers with valuable information helps them develop empowered and independent students, so we gladly participate in Professional Development Days with DCPS. In December we hosted a session about Student and Family Engagement as it relates to Community-Based Instruction (CBI) outings. CBI outings enhance classroom learning through real world experiences and encourage independent livings skills. With 17 teachers from a variety of schools in attendance, discussions of key topics were exciting. These topics included what engagement is for students and family (parents, guardians, caregivers, and so on), why engagement is necessary, and how to manage engagement. The result of our discussions led to three important points:
- Communicate with students and make sure they are involved: find out what their interests are and let them help plan the CBI outings.
- Address student behavior before, during and after trips: discuss what behavior is appropriate, address behaviors both good and bad during trips, then review how they performed back in class.
- Reach out to parents (guardians, caregivers, and so on): do not wait for them to come to you. Provide parents with the details of what is going on and ask if they have questions or concerns. Offer them a voice in their child’s learning.
Every student and parent is unique, so engagement can be challenging; however, it is necessary for improved learning and enhancing students’ experiences on CBI outings. Even small changes can have a large impact, so finding ways to capture students’ attention, motivate their curiosity, and drive parent support is important. We at The Arc of DC, in conjunction with DCPS, strive to support these tasks and help teachers achieve success.