Celebrates Jefferson Middle School Academy’s Excellence in Family Engagement
As part of the Every Day Counts! campaign, Mayor Bowser celebrated Jefferson Middle School Academy’s success in creating a strong school community that welcomes students and families. Last month, the middle school was announced as the winner of the 2018 DC Public Schools (DCPS) Standing Ovation prize for Family Engagement. At today’s event, the Mayor highlighted the school’s work in building positive and collaborative relationships with students and families through home visits, student-led conferences, and more.
“We know that when students feel loved, challenged, and prepared, they are more likely to attend school every day. Ensuring this is the case for every student in every school isn’t easy and it won’t happen overnight, but we have educators across all eight wards working with families to get us there,” said Mayor Bowser. “I applaud the teachers, administrators, and staff at Jefferson and at schools across the District who are going above and beyond to engage families and set our students up for success.”
Jefferson started making home visits during the 2012-2013 school year, and each year, they have continued to expand their program. Now, home visits are a required part of Jefferson’s model and all members of the staff, including operations and student support team members, are required to do home visits. During the 2016-2017 school year, Jefferson visited 186 families, and survey data shows that the family engagement efforts are changing how students perceive school. Last year, on the annual DCPS student satisfaction survey, 96 percent of students either “agreed” or “strongly agreed” with the statement “My family is welcome at my school,” an increase of five percent over the previous year.
“When families feel welcome at school, that’s going to lead to kids wanting to come to school and learn,” said DCPS Chancellor Antwan Wilson. “The engagement happening at Jefferson is what I want to see across our public schools: more resources for families, home visits, social and emotional supports, and an overall commitment to creating a welcoming environment.”