Community Engagement Task Force seeks to strengthen connections

“How can we strengthen connections across Jeffco?,” Jeffco Schools Superintendent Jason Glass asked the Community Engagement Task Force. The task force held their first meeting June 12 to discuss how Jeffco Schools can improve community interactions.

In his opening remarks, Glass emphasized the importance of reaching the larger Jeffco community beyond staff and families with children in school.

Jeffco Schools hopes to improve student achievement through community engagement and relationships, said Tracie Apel, Jeffco Schools communication specialist and tactic lead for the district’s Family and Community Engagement team. “If Jeffco Public Schools implements best practices (National Family Engagement Standards) to engage families, then families will participate as partners to support student learning,” she said.

As part of this work, the district developed a self-evaluation toolkit. Jeffco is distributing the toolkit to schools in order to equip staff to better engage with their community members.

“We’re stronger together than we are separate,” said Jason Firestone, manager of the Jeffco Schools Student Engagement Office. The Community Engagement Task Force will suggest ways the district can build on those strengths.

During its upcoming meetings, task force members will prepare an action plan with recommendations to increase school and district-level connections with multiple Jeffco groups. Those include:

  • Faith-based organizations
  • Senior and retirement organizations
  • Non-profit organizations
  • Jeffco businesses
  • Families already connected to the schools
  • Families with children not old enough for school
  • Other Jeffco stakeholders not otherwise directly connected to the schools

Then, members of the Community Engagement Task Force will present their recommendations to Glass and the Jeffco School Board in September.

Openings still available on Community Engagement Task Force

Apel said she encourages additional members of the Jeffco community to join the task force. All Jeffco stakeholders — residents, business owners, community organizations, and more —  are encouraged to attend future meetings.

In an effort to make meetings more accessible to community members, district staff are looking into the possibility of allowing community members to participate remotely.

Task force members were asked to read about Jeffco Generations, Glass’ vision document for Jeffco Schools, and review the district’s Strategic Plan. They were also asked to review the highlights from Jeffco’s climate and culture surveys, specifically the Family-School Partnership survey, and to review internal survey and external poll data before the next meeting.

The next meeting will occur on June 26th from 6:00pm to 7:30pm at the Jeffco Schools Ed Center in conference room 4e. All community members are welcome and encourage to attend.

For more information about the Community Engagement Task Force, visit the task force webpage.

Tina Gurdikian

Tina Gurdikian has been a Jeffco resident since 2008, and is the parent of two Jeffco Schools students. She has a BS in Environmental Analysis and Planning with a minor in Biology. In her not-so-spare time, she enjoys fostering dogs, scuba diving, backpacking, hiking, biking, and kayaking with her family. Please visit our "About Us" page to learn more about Tina and our other writers.

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