Wanna propose a higher family engagement budget? Read this.
Ok, educators, get your dreaming hats on!
This month's email may feel like it’s addressing an unattainable, never-going-to-happen fantasy for many in our profession. Not everyone is graced with a huge budget to support their family engagement efforts.
I understand that more than anyone. Throughout my career engaging families as a teacher, administrator, and now consultant, I've worked with everything from non-existent to sizeable budgets.
I encourage you, take a look at this post in two ways:
If you have a large budget: use this as a guide for where to direct your funds.
If you don't have a large budget yet: this post can provide a basic framework for proposing one.
If you fit into either option, or even if your school or program is somewhere in the middle, you can always give us a call to brainstorm. Our team has several former State-level Education Directors and we'd love to point you to resources that fit your school's needs.
One more point that's super important. I want you to remember this because so many people get stuck here and miss opportunities to move forward.
Money doesn’t solve problems at their core. Certainly, budgets and funds help amplify the work you’re doing - and we all know we need more.
But regardless of the cash in your program account, we highly suggest using the FREE strategies we outlined last month first to get to know your audience of parents, teachers, and administrators, test their interests, and build momentum towards better relationships. Those strategies are essential to get right before putting money towards anything.
Ready to see what you can do with budgets of $500 - $40k +++? Let's get started.
$500 Budgets: Teams Start Here
Professional development: You and a team of 8 can take the FFS Engage! Online course. Here, your “team” will strengthen, build relationships, build a project, and create a plan for family engagement at your school. You can build a family engagement team and get 6 months of coaching and guidance on building the foundation for your program.
Supplies & programs: Hold a Scholastic book fair. They provide everything you need, and you get to keep money for your school. Set aside a few bucks for coffee and donuts, have everyone wear pajamas, and it’s a party! Click here to sign up directly with Scholastic.
Building Your Capacity
At this point, your budget can start to move from “supplies” and into “personnel.”
While this amount may not be enough to pay a complete stipend for someone to be full-time on your family engagement team, it can definitely be contributed to teachers who stay after school or on weekends to help you plan and run events. Teachers work so hard and we all know they deserve to be paid more!
You can also use this money to pay for professional babysitters or temp subs to come in and support with childcare during events and workshops. Having reliable childcare will ensure many more families can attend who would otherwise not be able to.
At $2k+, you can start to bring in an outside person to host a workshop. We at Family Friendly Schools provide topic-based workshops and create custom training events regularly. Click here to find out more.
$20,000 - 40,000+ budgets:
At the $20k+ point, you can start paying for personnel full-time.
Pay a sizeable stipend to schools for parent liaisons to focus on this work full-time, or hire a full-time Family Engagement Coordinator.
Host a family university. This amount would provide somebody to organize and staff the event and coordinate keynote speakers. FFS attended Alief ISD’s Family U last year and made this video.
Reminder reminder reminder! This is so important, so we’ll say it again:
No matter how high your budget is, the best way to get families engaged is by learning, listening, and building relationships.
Don’t let yourself get overwhelmed. All of these are just suggestions and ideas, we want to provide a framework for you to get started. Did this spark some ideas? Give us a call to brainstorm with you.
Committed to your success,
Dr. Joni Samples