26 HISD campuses attain Family Friendly Schools certification

As the first year of the Family Friendly Schools certification program draws to a close, the Family and Community Engagement department has certified 26 participating campuses as either gold, silver and/or bronze, and one as an honorable mention.

The FACE department established the certification program to recognize and honor the dedication and commitment of principals, faculty, and staff who are determined to ensure their families and communities work together toward a common goal. The program was founded to assist schools in three vital areas related to family engagement: building relationships with family and community, linking family events to students’ learning, and supporting parents’ advocacy.

Events like the Family Math and Science Night held at Tijerina Elementary School on May 17 exemplify effective ways to build relationships with both parents and students. With the assistance of the Children’s Museum’s Education Outreach Dept. and the United Way, Tijerina was able to offer families nearly a dozen stations with math and science activities for grades Pre-K through 5. Parents took home an activity guide, and each student was given a book, thanks to the community partners.

The activities were designed to be linked directly to student learning—empowering parents with the necessary skills to help their children be successful academically and reach their long-term educational goals. Other activities that FFS participate in include discussions of parent-engagement data, FACE trainings, enhancing customer service at the school, family field trips, community links such as art exhibits in community venues, book studies, and literacy nights.

“We invite our parents to be academic partners,” said Tijerina Principal Britney Gandhi. “We bring them into the school and teach them how to help their children academically at home. We also welcome them as volunteers.” Tijerina is very close to winning their gold certification.

Black Middle School Principal Paolo Castagnoli shared what it means to be a Family Friendly School: “At Frank Black Middle School, we consider parents to be our partners in making sure that their child is excelling socially, emotionally, and academically. In order to ensure this, we have specifically focused on creating opportunities for parents to engage in the academic process.

Below is a list of the 26 Family Friendly Schools who earned certification status and honorable mention this year. These campuses will be recognized during the August HISD Board of Education meeting and the August principal’s meeting.

Gold: Bell ES, Bellfort ECC, Black MS, Brookline ES, Chávez HS, Deanda ES, Fondren MS, Fonwood ECC, Herrera ES, Jackson MS, Kennedy ES, and R.C. Martínez ES

Silver: Benbrook ES, Energized for Excellence MS, Forest Brook MS, Grissom ES, Madison HS, Marshall ES, Ortíz MS, and Tijerina ES

Bronze: Fonville MS, Stevenson MS, Sugar Grove Academy, Welch MS, and Woodson Leadership Academy

Honorable Mention: Kashmere Gardens ES